When "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart makes fun of you, you don't hang your head in shame - you sit up and take notice, and that's exactly what has happened since he mocked the Quebec town of Asbestos on last Thursday's show.
An entire segment was devoted to ridiculing the town for their attachment to asbestos. Locals officials were interviewed and spoke about how the safe handling of the material, which is blamed for 100,000 deaths a year, makes it less of a threat.
Comedian-reporter and Mumbai-born Aasif Mandvi challenged the claim, insisting that it is not handled carefully in his homeland of India, which is the main market for Quebec asbestos. And, to add insult to injury, the Quebec government recently announced a $58-million loan guarantee that will keep one of the main asbestos mines open - the Jeffrey Mine. Mandvi asked asbestos executive Bernard Coulombe, who is president of the Jeffrey Mine operation, several tongue-in-cheek questions, such as, "Have you ever been to India?... Do you think in India people are following the regulations?", to which Coulombe playfully replied, "Maybe they're used to the pollution... It's like antibiotics. They have natural antibodies." Mandvi added later in the segment, "That's really f*cked up, man. I mean, selling them things that are going to kill them. I mean, that's my family over there. What's the French word for douchebag? Does asbestos mean something different in French than it does in English? Because in English, it means slow, hacking death."
For a number of years both levels of government have received pressure to stop exporting asbestos because of it's possible links to causing cancer.
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