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Paperweek International 2004: New Minister Brings New Hope


March 1, 2004
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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With new administration comes new hope. And the pulp and paper industry has nothing but high hopes for the newly-appointed Minister of Natural Resources.

With new administration comes new hope. And the pulp and paper industry has nothing but high hopes for the newly-appointed Minister of Natural Resources.

“I’m going to be a champion of your industry!” said John Efford, the Member of Parliament for the district of Bonavista-Trinity-Conception, NF, who received his appointment in December.

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“I want to contribute to this country and the only way to do that is to work with you people,” Efford told the excited crowd at the PaperWeek International Luncheon, co-hosted by PAPTAC and FPAC. “The better I will profile your industry, the better for this country.”

The pulp and paper and forest products industries make great contributions to the Canadian landscape, Efford said, and it’s high time people start acknowledging these industries as major players in the Canadian economy.

“[These industries] will not be lost in the Department of Natural Resources. I will make sure that the pulp and paper and forest industries are recognized at the top of that department — that’s the commitment I am making to you,” he enthused.

“When a guy from Newfoundland and Labrador speaks, everybody listens!” he joked, referring to his accent.

“I’m going to depend on you for guidance, for cooperation,” he addressed the 625 people at the luncheon. Efford recognized that one of the major challenges for him, as the newly appointed minister, is how to position the industries in the global market.

“International placement — how do we position ourselves so that Canadian brands are recognized all over the world?” he asked the audience. There’s vast opportunity overseas, he said. “We haven’t even scratched the surface of the Asian and European markets.” He advised the papermakers not to concentrate on one market but rather to expand and broaden the opportunities.

He told the audience to be optimistic. “I’ve been criticized a couple of times when I said ‘triple your profits’,” explained the minister. “I hope you and I can triple your profits in the next five to ten years because this is what will happen — you will invest in your people and you will improve your technology and pay more taxes — I don’t see anything wrong with that,” he joked.

For the industry leaders, Efford had words of wisdom. “Support the business in difficult times — never stay still, don’t be stagnant, or you will fall backwards,” he said. “Do I have the energy to carry forward?” he threw the question to the applauding audience. “Yes, I do!”