22 May 2010
Thank you very much for that reception, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you, Greg Rickford, for that kind introduction and for all your hard work. Greg keeps the concerns and the priorities not just of Dryden but of this entire great, huge riding of Kenora at the forefront of his work in Ottawa. There are very few MPs who have the kind of territory he has to cover, but as hard as it is, Greg does cover it and does an outstanding job.
Greetings to Mayor Anne Krassilowsky, to Chief Canton, to the management here, to CEO John Williams and manager Jim Blight, and all the employees of Domtar who are here with us today. Thank you for hosting this event. I’m delighted to be here.
As you all know better than I do, we’re in Dryden today primarily to celebrate the centennial of this great city of Northern Ontario, so the question is how do you mark an occasion like this? If you’re a city, what do you get for your birthday when you’re 100 years old?
Well, the forestry industry has been central to Dryden’s fortunes for that entire century. It’s therefore fitting that the Government of Canada should seek to acknowledge the occasion with a major investment in the local pulp industry. This city has been making forest fibre products, paper, cellulose fibres and softwood craft pulp for most of its history. This very mill was founded in 1911, almost 100 years ago itself, by the Dryden Power and Timber Company. To be sure, it has changed hands more than once, but for the people of Dryden, it has been always there. They’ve either worked here to feed their families and pay their taxes, or they have benefited indirectly from the fact that their neighbours did, and we would like to see that go on.
Now, as is the case with many industries, changing conditions present new challenges. Innovation, adaptation and change – these really are the only constants today. That is especially so in respect of maximizing production while minimizing our effect upon the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land upon which we live. Of course, conserving the environment is a very conservative thing to do. It underlies many of our policies and actions. For example, last year in response to the challenges faced by the forest industry everywhere in Canada, we established the $1 billion pulp and paper green transformation program. This program is part of Canada’s hugely successful Economic Action Plan, our national economic stimulus plan under which we have witnessed the creation of close to 300,000 net new jobs since July of last year. Our goal with this particular program, however, is to balance economic stimulus with protection of the environment.
We are here to announce substantial funding that will help lay the foundation for a greener, more secure future here in Dryden. Domtar will use the funds for two specific capital improvement projects: the surplus steam condenser and the topping turbo generator to be installed right here at the Domtar Dryden pulp mill operations. This will help Domtar Dryden further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions at a time when buyers are increasingly sensitive not only to what they are buying, but also to how what they’re buying is made, and this will help to position this mill as a leader in the production of renewable energy from forest biomass.
Smart investments like this enable mills to increase their capacity, to get clean energy out of the forest biomass, and to do more with less. As similar projects are announced across the country, our forest products industry will be transformed. It will be more competitive, it will be more efficient, and it will be more environmentally responsible. As a result, it will continue to provide good jobs for the men and women who seek only to pay their own way as they raise their families and contribute to your community. This program creates and protects jobs for Canadians who work in one of the most important sectors of our great country’s economy.
Let me be clear about our priorities here. We remain focused as a government on strengthening the economy, on investing in projects that create jobs, on advancing projects that improve our environment. This investment does all three, and it’s not all that we’re doing. This investment complements the many other initiatives being delivered by our government to sustain and develop the forest industry in Canada. In fact, since coming to office, we have initiated over $2 billion in direct forestry programming in areas as diverse as marketing, innovation, community development and environmental and green energy development, and that excludes the continued financial support given the sector through the activities of the Export Development Corporation. We are committed to maintaining a world-class forestry industry that is able to compete in tomorrow’s clean energy economy.
Ladies and gentlemen, the bottom line is this: if we want our descendants to have days like this in another hundred years, these are the investments we must make now all over Canada. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. This investment will help to ensure that in the year 2110 the people of Dryden will be able to celebrate the city’s bicentennial as they set off on their third century. For now, I wish you well on your second. Once again, it is a pleasure for me to be here again.
I just want to conclude by asking the gentleman who’s our next speaker, whose company is employing Canadian workers and building towards our clean energy future, to come to the podium, the president and CEO of Domtar, John Williams.