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Northern MPP wants Ontario government to apologize to miners

Sudbury MPP Jamie West will bring forward a motion on Thursday calling for an official apology from the Government of Ontario to the 25,000 miners who were forced to breathe in harmful aluminum dust between 1943 and 1980.

McIntyre powder was supposed to prevent disease but instead is linked to high rates of Parkinson's disease among those forced to inhale it before their shifts underground.

"This isn’t about offering money," West said.

"This is about recognizing what was done shouldn’t have happened to them and that it was wrong. Because many of those remaining miners are elderly and most remaining miners are health compromised, it remains incredibly urgent and important that we hear this apology as soon as possible."

West said the government of the day sanctioned the use of McIntyre Powder, despite expert evidence that recommended against its use.

The move comes after the Ministry of Labour announced a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease linked to dust will be formally recognized as an occupational disease under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

"You had no choice but to breathe it in," said Bill Ferguson, a miner affected by McIntyre powder.

"I mean, you were right in the middle of this black cloud and you had to breathe it in and they thought they were doing us some good. I breathed it in for approximately 20 years."

The motion will be read during Question Period at Queen's Park on Thursday and the hope is that the apology can be given at that time. West said it's fitting that it would fall on the International Day of Mourning, a day to remember workers who died, were injured or became sick from their job. Top Stories

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