Asbestos victims invite Canada’s Minister of Health to attend Sarnia Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos

Sun, Aug 19, 2012

Asbestos, Misc.

August 7, 2012

Dear Ms. Aglukkaq,

We hope that as Minister of Health you will come to Sarnia on September 29th in support of one of the most significant health issues facing Canadians today.

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Dad was exposed to asbestos through his work at Dow Chemical, Lambton Generating Station and Ontario Hydro (Hydro One). He was never told of the danger asbestos posed and certainly had no idea that four decades later he would die from it. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on March 7 and died on May 12, 2008. We are grateful he only suffered two short months, but felt robbed of many more years with this once vibrant, healthy man. His own father only died two years earlier in his nineties. Our dad was 72 and was the epitome of good health.

Like the Krever Commission in 1995-97 that looked into the tainted blood scandal, there is a desperate need for a public inquiry into the thousands of deaths in Canada caused by asbestos after evidence of its deadly nature was long known by asbestos industry officials. As early as the 1880s asbestos was found to be dangerous and in the 1930s asbestos industry officials in Canada knew the deadly consequences of their product. Thousands of people would still be alive today if an organized campaign of misinformation, junk science, and cover-ups had not been allowed to convince Canadians that asbestos was safe. In Ontario alone 500 people die every year asbestos related disease.

We call for a public inquiry into the tens of thousands of Canadian asbestos deaths, many of which have not even been properly tracked. Asbestos is Canada’s #1 occupational killer and these deaths are completely preventable. Future generations will not have to suffer if asbestos is removed and banned. Instead legal use of asbestos continues in cement and is even legal in children’s toys, deserted open pit asbestos mines have teens driving ATVs through them kicking up asbestos fibres, and thousands of tons of asbestos are shipped to the developing world where workers are not warned of its deadly nature. In Italy, asbestos magnates were recently sentenced to 16 years in prison and ordered to pay millions of dollars in fines. In Canada, asbestos magnates are given millions of dollars in funding by the Quebec and federal government.

On September 29, 2012 my sister, Stacy Cattran, and I are hosting the second “Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos” in Sarnia, Ontario. Last year we had 500 people show up on a cold, windy day to honour those who have died from asbestos and request a ban on its use and export. Sarnia has been decimated by asbestos illness and people are outraged that the government still supports the ‘safe use’ of chrysotile abroad. So many in Sarnia have lost multiply family members to this fibrous mineral.

We request your presence at our Walk which will begin at 11 am in Centennial Park on Sarnia’s waterfront. We have a couple of international guests who will be participating in the short program before the Walk. It would be wonderful for the city of Sarnia to see the Minister of Health support them in their fight to protect workers and their families.

Please visit our website at for more information about us and the Walk.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Leah Nielsen

, , ,

2 Responses to “Asbestos victims invite Canada’s Minister of Health to attend Sarnia Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos”

  1. Denis Donnelly Says:

    I worked for Ontario Hydro as a station operator at Douglas Point Nuclear Power Station (DPGS) from aproximatly 1965 to 1970. . During turbine Trips (which were frequent) asbestos covered pipes would shake so hard that airborne asbestos was often visible in much of the turbine building.

    I have been diagnosed with lung cancer. i have filed a claim with the WSIB regarding asbestos exposure at DPGS. Around 1970 I transferred to Pickering GS. OPG the successor company has been unable to find any record of that employment.

    At a pensioners breakfast in Kincardine i learned fo four of my coworkers from that same time period who have been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma. i believe there are and will be many more asbestos related cancers among DPGS workers If my health hold out I hope to do some research to establish the extent of the problem at Douglas Point.

    Please accept my condolences regarding your father. I support your work and hope your walk went well

    I would appreciate hearing from you.

    Denis Donnelly
    99 Harbour Square, Apt 2701
    Toronto ON M5J 2H2

  2. Leah Nielsen Says:

    Hi Denis,
    Please contact me at
    I will send a longer email when we chat privately

    I am so sorry to hear about your cancer. I am glad you have contacted WSIB. That’s what Dad did. Our mom is currently in the mesothelioma early detection program at Princess Margaret. She went for her yearly CAT scan two days ago.

    Send your phone number if you like and I will call. We have a facebook page “A Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos” that has recent articles. We keep it updated and it can be a good source of information.

    Thanks for contacting us and good luck. We’d like to know who the other pensioners at your Kincardine meeting were.
    Take care

Leave a Reply