Sham Conference in Montreal 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen

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On May 23 & 24, 2006, an event entitled “International Conference on Chrysotile: Chrysotile at a Turning Point” is being held in Montreal; its sponsors include major chrysotile (white asbestos) stakeholders: the Chrysotile Institute, the International Chrysotile Association and the Governments of Canada and Quebec. The Montreal event is not a scientific conference, it is a gathering of the “chrysotile clan.” More specifically, it provides an opportunity for those who benefit from the sale of asbestos fiber and products to display their expensively commissioned “scientific research” which, unsurprisingly, “proves” that chrysotile asbestos remains a substance which could and should be used – not in Canada, of course, but in countries throughout Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Amongst the scheduled speakers are:

  • Clement Godbout (Canada), President of the Chrysotile Institute and Chairman of the International Chrysotile Association;

  • Drs. David Bernstein (Switzerland) and Ericson Bagatin (Brazil), asbestos industry consultants;

  • Dr. Hans Weill, a witness for U.S. asbestos defendants;

  • Bob Pigg, President of the Asbestos Information Association of North America, who has been pedalling asbestos propaganda for decades;

  • Luis Cejudo Alva (Mexico) and Vivek Chandra Rao (India), spokesmen for national asbestos commercial interests;

  • John Bridle (UK), a businessman who, before the national asbestos ban, worked for or owned companies selling asbestos-cement products for more than 30 years; recently, Bridle was the UK spokesperson for the Asbestos Cement Product Producers' Association, “a world wide association dedicated to supplying scientific information for the safe handling of Chrysotile.”

The bad old days when the asbestos lobby dictated the terms and content of the global asbestos debate are long over. Nowadays, the lies told by the industry are exposed in countries all over the world by groups and individuals representing diverse sectors of civil society. The propaganda in Canada and abroad which will no doubt be generated by this sham conference will not remain unchallenged. Watch this space!


On May 23, 2006, a two page advertisement appeared in The Hill Times, the newspaper circulated on Capital Hill, Ottawa, which exposed this "conference" for the propaganda event that it is. MiningWatch Canada, the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers and three Canadian trade unions provide robust and detailed replies to the main tenets of the industry's pro-asbestos arguments. To see the article, visit the website:


May 18, 2006



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