People dying from asbestos is not a health issue, says Canada’s Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq

Sun, Aug 19, 2012

Asbestos, Misc.

Canada’s Health Minister repudiates asbestos victims, saying asbestos deaths are not a health issue.


Two women, who lost their father to asbestos, have invited Canada’s Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, to attend an event in Sarnia, Ontario to remember victims of asbestos and to call for action to prevent any further people dying terrible and unnecessary deaths from asbestos, either in Canada or overseas.

Sarnia, an industrial city which used a great deal of asbestos in the past, has one of the highest rates of asbestos diseases and deaths in Canada. In addition, asbestos is the highest single cause of occupational death in Canada and the number of asbestos disease victims continues to climb each year.

Leah Nielsen and her sister, Stacy Cattran, are organising the 2nd annual Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos in Sarnia on September 29, 2012. They are also calling for a public inquiry into the tens of thousands of Canadian asbestos deaths, many of which have not even been properly tracked.

They invited Canada’s Health Minister to attend the event and show her support for asbestos victims in their fight to protect the health of workers and their families.

Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Health Minister, callously rejected the invitation. She refused to acknowledge her responsibility to address the epidemic of asbestos-related deaths in Canada, saying that asbestos is an issue outside her concerns and one that “falls within the purview of the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources.” The Ministry of Natural Resources is notorious for its promotion of asbestos mining . It has for decades been the asbestos industry’s most dedicated supporter and has provided millions of dollars to the asbestos industry’s lobby group, the Chrysotile Institute, over the past two decades.

The Minister of Natural Resources is not the Minister responsible for health issues. Health issues “fall under the purview” of Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, who washes her hands of responsibility for the asbestos issue. Thus no-one in the Canadian government takes responsibility for the public health disaster being caused by asbestos across Canada and overseas, where Canadian asbestos has been exported.

Minister of Health Aglukkaq has also refused requests from asbestos victims for a meeting with her, saying that the issue of asbestos-related diseases and death is not her responsibility and cynically telling asbestos victims to go talk to the Minister of Natural Resources, cheerleader for the asbestos industry.

Minister Aglukkaq is, however, seriously concerned about the health impact of wind turbines and is taking action. She has ordered a study to be carried out, saying “As always, our Government is putting the health and safety of Canadians first and this study will do just that by painting a more complete picture of the potential health impacts of wind turbine noise.” Aglukkaq did not indicate the number of deaths across Canada caused by wind turbine noise. Nor did she indicate why she is concerned about the health impacts of wind turbine noise, but is not concerned about the health impacts of asbestos.

In Italy, asbestos magnates have been sentenced to prison for criminal negligence.

Canada’s Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, is showing similar criminal negligence.

Kathleen Ruff, founder of


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