Home PAPTAC 2018 PWC/BIOFOR Coverage Key initiatives of the Government of Canada

Key initiatives of the Government of Canada

Keynote Address to the 3rd Annual BIOFOR International Conference – Paperweek 2018

The Honorable Minister James Carr started his keynote address by acknowledging the fact that we are meeting on the traditional lands of the Mohawk Nation. It is an important reminder that the relationship we have with the land, air and water is sacred. It's sacred not least because it is inherited it from the generations that came before us and that there is a responsibility to pass this Earth on in better shape to the generations that will follow.

He went on to say that a number of challenges have arisen since BIOFOR 2017, including historic fires, devastating infestations and punitive protectionism from our largest trading partner on products from softwood lumber to newsprint. He made it very clear that the government is fighting for the forest industry to remove unfair duties.

Minister Carr went on to praise the forest industry for its forward thinking and quick action, which has resulted in new products and services that now form a strong foundation for a Canadian bioeconomy. Forest-based bioproducts are now found in everything from plastic to paints, car parts to construction, cosmetics to chemicals. And while Canada's overall greenhouse gas emissions rose between 1990 and 2012, pulp and paper mills reduced their emissions by an impressive 66%.

The main message in his speech was that the government is with the industry every step of the way. Close collaboration with the provinces and territories has during last year resulted in The Forest Bioeconomy Framework and with the clear goal to position Canada as a global leader in the use of sustainable biomass to transform the economy.

He stressed the opportunity the bioeconomy now presents. According to the OECD, by 2030, the bioeconomy could represent a two to five trillion-dollar market globally. Advanced bioproducts could contribute up to 35% of the world's chemical and industrial products — and 80% of pharmaceuticals. The International Energy Agency projects that biofuels could provide about 30% of all transportation fuels by 2050. Canada is ideally placed to lead the bio revolution.

Minster Carr pointed out that since BIOFOR 2017, the government has launched a number of programs to deliver bio-based energy to rural and remote communities and increase the use of wood in construction, including tall wood buildings. Over their lifetimes, these programs aim to increase the consumption of wood in North America by $500 million, create 20 to 30 first-in-kind projects and provide solid jobs in more than 170 forest-dependent communities.

© Paper Advance

More broadly, they will decrease reliance on diesel fuel, revolutionize building codes, improve industrial energy efficiency, invest in clean technology research and support Canada's nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples.

The government is making a concerted effort to strike deals and open doors — especially in China — where exports of our wood products have grown by more than 25 times since 2002. The Prime Minister was in China in December — his second trip there in three years. Minister Carr was there in June and had the opportunity to tour a new eco-district in Tianjin — a $2.5-billion project featuring nearly two square kilometres of Canadian lumber, ingenuity and expertise.

These kinds of projects demonstrate the incredible opportunities to create good jobs at home by opening up markets abroad.

And there's more: the government is continuing to support the industry directly, through programs such as the Transformative Technologies Program, FPInnovations and the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program (IFIT).

Minister Carr concluded his speech by saying: "Today, an industry that has written so much of Canadian history is creating an exciting new future. A story whose best chapters are still to come. I look forward to working with all of you as we write those chapters together."

The full speech can be read at https://www.canada.ca/en/natural-resources-canada/news/2018/02/the_honourable_jimcarrcanadasministerofnaturalresourceskeynotead.html


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