Day Of Mourning Advocates For Asbestos Ban (GALLERY)

Red flowers were laid at Sarnia's Firefighters' Memorial Garden on East St. Thursday for the National Day of Mourning. April 28, 2016 ( Photo by Briana Carnegie)

Workers, families, friends and concerned citizens attended Sarnia’s Day of Mourning ceremony Thursday evening, held this year at the Clifford Hanson Fire Station on East St.

An emotional Mayor Mike Bradley was among the speakers encouraging a nation-wide ban on asbestos.

He notes Sarnia was the first community in 2001 to come out against the export of asbestos and that the battle still continues today.

“We’ve come a long way, but I dream of the day in the very short term where the victory happens, asbestos is banned and we also don’t pick up a newspaper to see that someone has lost their life because they went to work,” says Bradley. “That day will come my friends.”

Mayor Bradley expressed frustrations with remediation plans at Centennial Park, noting cost saving measures would preserve asbestos on the site, rather than restore it.

“Where the parking lot is, where the boat ramps are. To save money, there’s going to be a huge hill and in that hill, is going to be asbestos and all the other things we closed the park down for,” he says, noting leaving it there is “fundamentally wrong.”

He encourages residents to contact city representatives to have it fully restored.

Also speaking at the event was National CUPE Representative Blain Morin. He says to date, 2,000 Canadians have some form of asbestos poisoning.

Victims of Chemical Valley Chair Sandy Kinart encourages residents to contact the Trudeau government and protect future generations from asbestos.

“Many of our members have become ill, their partners have died and so have they, and they have not had any justice for their claims that are 20 years old,” she says. “Here we are today still waiting for that justice.”

Red flowers were passed around and later laid down on the Firefighters’ Memorial Garden.

The National Day of Mourning remembers workers who have been killed, injured, or made ill on the job.