Asian Solidarity Delegation to Quebec, Canada: Events in Canada 



Mission Aftermath: Further Developments

Updated Dec 18, 2010
Related resources:  Briefings-Statements-Letters    Global Demonstrations    Media    Archive List


Delegation Members
Press Conference
Public meeting at Quebec University
Meeting with Central Democratic Union (CDS)
Meeting with Parti Quebecois
Public meeting at Laval University
CBC Interviews with Anup Srivasta and Jeong-rim Lee
Press Conference at Quebec National Assembly
Tabling of bill by Amir Khadir
Meeting with Minister Clement Gignac and Officials
Press Conference, House of Commons, Ottawa
CBC interview with Delegation Omana George
Protest outside office of Premier Jean Charest


Delegation Members*


Sugio Furuya

Ye-yong Choi

Kazumi Yoshizaki

Muchamad Darisman

Omana George

Anup Srivasta

Jeong-rim Lee

Kathleen Ruff

* Biographical details of the Delegation Members can be found in the Delegation Official Press Pack
Kathleen Ruff, a Canadian, is the Delegation's Liaison Officer.

Dec 7, Montreal

 Press conference







 Public meeting at Quebec University





Dec 8, Quebec City

 During the morning the delegation took part in a 90-minute meeting with Mr. Francis Vaudreiul, the President of the Centrale des Syndicats Democratiques (CSD, Central Democratic Union), a group with 7,000 members, and officials from the National Asbestos Union which represents 270 workers from the Jeffrey Mine. Some parts of the meeting were conducted in English and some in French.




The delegation presented their views for consideration by the meeting. Afterwards, Dr. Jacques Dunnigan, a long-time associate of the (Canadian) Chrysotile Institute, told the meeting that the Asian mission to Quebec was ill-conceived as the use of asbestos in their countries was a matter for their governments and not something about which the authorities in Quebec or Canada had responsibility for:

“Canada cannot substitute for your national authorities in applying vigilance and inspection of its industrial activities. You are coming from sovereing (sic) countries, and it is the solemn duty of your national authorities to see that your workers are protected.”

Clearly, the CSD was in favor of the mine proposal.


 Meeting with Parti Quebecois





 Public meeting at Laval University attended by industry representatives, asbestos workers and residents from the town of Asbestos. There was, according to one observer, “a very heated debate” with two obvious camps.




 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) interview with Delegation members Anup Srivasta and Jeong-rim Lee

Anup Srivasta and Jeong-rim Lee Interview




Dec 9, Quebec City

 Press Conference at Quebec National Assembly. See:

Press Conference Transcript

Press Conference Video






 Members of the Delegation attended the tabling of a motion at the Quebec National Assembly to ban the export and use of asbestos in Quebec by Amir Khadir, Deputy from Quebec Solidarity. Presenting this bill Deputy Khadir acknowledged the presence of the Asian Delegation in the gallery.

 In the afternoon, Delegation members met with the Quebec Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, Clement Gignac (who is dealing with the Jeffrey mine issue). He was accompanied by six government officials from the Quebec Ministry of National Resources. As the overwhelming case against continuing asbestos use was made by the Delegation members these officials remained silent. They could not refute the arguments offered but seemed not to care, and as the meeting progressed took to whispering among themselves even when delegates were speaking.



The Minister was less comfortable with the barrage of unpalatable truths he was obliged to evade. There was an asbestos problem in Quebec 50 years ago, he admitted, but everything was fine now that “best practice” was observed. Challenged about how such “best practice” could operate once asbestos products went out into the general community, he had no answer, besides saying that such things were the responsibility of asbestos importing countries.

Unswayed by requests that he should listen to medical and occupational health experts in Quebec and throughout Canada who would validate the Delegation's case, the Minister offered further justification of the Government's position: if Quebec stopped exporting asbestos others, notably Russia and Kazakhstan, would simply increase their exports throughout Asia. Nothing would be gained by such a policy.

No doubt, too polite to point out the moral bankruptcy of this argument directly, Sugio Furuya reminded the Minister that Russia and other exporting countries at least used asbestos themselves; Canada not using asbestos, knowing it to be too dangerous, must be aware of the damage caused in other countries; arguably making Canada more guilty of “exporting death” than other producers.

The Delegation came seeking a definite assurance that the mine would be stopped. They got no such assurance and were unconvinced with the crumb of comfort offered, when Minister Gignac, finally washing his hands of the whole matter, claimed that no government decision had yet been taken regarding the loan guarantee.



Dec 9, Ottawa

 Two members of the Delegation (Omana George and Kazumi Yoshizaki) took part in a Press Conference in the House of Commons, Ottawa hosted by Nathan Cullen, MP from the New Democrat Party (NDP). Two NDPs pledged to introduce a federal bill banning the use and mining of asbestos in Canada.




Dec 10, Montreal

 CBC interview with Delegation member Omana George:

Omana George Radio Interview


 Demonstration outside the offices of Premier Jean Charest at 770 Sherbrooke Street West in remembrance of hundreds of thousands of victims of Quebec chrysotile asbestos.







December 16, 2010




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