Merchants of Death from Quebec Seducing Indian Government & Companies

Press Release: New Delhi, 2/2/2011:


Merchants of Death from Quebec Seducing Indian Government & Companies 


New Delhi, 2/2/2011: Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) condemns the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and the Indian Merchants’ Chamber at the beginning of the 2011 trade mission to India, organized by a asbestos trade promoter like the Government of Quebec, Canada. The MoU was signed on 31st December, 2011. 

A Quebec government’s trade mission led by Clement Gignac, Economic Development Minister is in India from January 30 – February 4. This mission comprises of a representative of Baljit Chadha’s Balcorp Ltd who has been exporting Canadian chrysotile asbestos for 15 years and who heads the consortium of investors interested in the expansion of Jeffrey Mine for asbestos fibers in Quebec. BANI has sent a letter to the Quebec Premier Jean Charest persuading him not to provide fiscal support for the asbestos mines in Quebec. The letter is attached and is available on

This mission is in India with an ulterior motive of drawing up a Quebec-India Collaboration Agreement on “safe use” of chrysotile asbestos.  It is noteworthy that not a single reputable medical authority in the world supports the Quebec government and asbestos industry’s position. 

The signing of this agreement reveals the callous disregard of the Quebec based asbestos mining companies and Indian asbestos product manufacturing companies towards the health of Indians.  “Exporting Quebec” initiative of Quebec government is guilty of promoting killer fibers of asbestos in Indian markets. 

An extra-ordinary letter sent to Gignac by Public Health directors of all of Quebec’s eighteen health & social regions reveals how not a single reputable medical authority in Canada or Quebec supports the government/industry’s position on Chrysotile Asbestos. Copies of this letter have been sent to Quebec Premier Jean Charest, Health minister Yves Bolduc, and National Director of Public Health, Alain Poirier. BANI has endorsed the contents of this letter. The original signed letter in French is available here:

The English translation is attached and available on

Gignac is in India this week on a trade mission, accompanied by a representative of Québec’s Occupational Health & Safety Commission and a representative of Balcorp Ltd (who are part of the consortium of investors who want to re-open the Jeffrey mine). 

BANI appeals to Mumbai based Indian Merchants’ Chamber to desist from indulging in asbestos trade to safeguard the health interests of present and future generation of Indians. 

BANI urges Anand Sharma, Union Commerce Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, Union Finance Minister and Jairam Ramesh, Union Environment Minister to take cognizance of the fact that Turkey banned asbestos on December 31, 2010 joining the league of more than 55 countries that have prohibited mining, trade, manufacturing and use of asbestos of all kinds in the interest of their citizens’ health.  

At least since 1982, Union Finance Ministry has been extending fiscal incentives to asbestos industry, BANI appeals to the Finance Minister to desist from supporting the killer industry. BANI is seeking incentive for the alternatives of asbestos mineral fibers in the upcoming session of the Parliament when the Budget is presented this year. 

Instead of succumbing to pressure from Clément Godbout, president of the asbestos lobby group the Chrysotile Institute, Chrysotile Asbestos Products Manufacturers, Asbestos Information Centre and politicians who asbestos companies, concerned ministries must take note of the Ban Asbestos Movement in India and initiate preventive and curative measures to protect the public health of fellow citizens and their human rights as underlined by the Kerala Human Rights Commission and National Human Rights Commission. 

BANI had demonstrated against the trade mission led by Quebec Premier Jean Charest that visited India last year demanding immediate ban on asbestos mining, trade and had sought political action against the crime against humanity. 

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Convener, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)/Asbestos Mukti Andolan, Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480, Web:  

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