Compromise seems to be the name of the game for health officials in Quebec when it comes to asbestos production. Yves Bolduc, the Province’s health minister, stated in July that he would not oppose intentions by the government to increase asbestos production and exportation, despite increasing calls from critics to curb production as health concerns continue to mount.
The Quebec government had been stating its intention to guarantee a $58 million loan to help expand the Jeffrey Mine in the town of Asbestos. As of September 3, a $3.5 million loan had been guaranteed to enable the mine to open up for the month. “The government has taken a position in favour of the safe use (of asbestos),” Bolduc said in July in response to the proposed lifeline, according to the Montreal Gazette.
“I understand that people from the public health (community) may want to take certain positions, but we are in a world where we have to make compromises, and if the government of Quebec makes a choice, we have to respect the choice of the government of Quebec,” he added.
The decision to aid the asbestos industry has come despite vocal opposition from the Quebec Medical Association, which represents the province’s 9,500 doctors.
“To continue to exploit asbestos mines, and to export this product, are actions that are unacceptable from a medical point of view,” read a letter released by the QMA in July, according to the Gazette.
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