Quebec industry calls for concrete actions from government
November 20, 2013 By Pulp & Paper Canada
The Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC) and the senior executives of six major forest companies are urging the provincial government to make a priority of the issues and challenges of competitiveness facing the industry in Quebec. The…
The Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC) and the senior executives of six major forest companies are urging the provincial government to make a priority of the issues and challenges of competitiveness facing the industry in Quebec. The QFIC’s suggested steps toward “a new partnership to support the development of a green economy” would include the creation of a Strategic Forum on the competitiveness and transformation of the forest industry as well as the establishment of programs to support the transformation of the industry by using Quebec’s energy surpluses.
Key government officials are expected to be present later this week at a forest industry gathering in St. Felicien, the Rendez-vous de la forêt québécoise.
Concerned by the need to save thousands of jobs in Quebec, six senior executives of some of the province’s largest forest companies gathered in Montreal on Nov. 18 to make the government aware of the importance of the industry’s competitiveness-related challenges and to rally around the position of the QFIC. Louis Brassard, CEO of Tafisa Canada, Richard Garneau, president and CEO of Resolute Forest Products, James N. Hogg, president and CEO of Uniboard, James Lopez, CEO and president of Tembec, Yvon Pelletier, president of the dissolving pulp division of Fortress Paper, and Charles Tardif, vice-president – procurement and business development at Maibec, were among the executives in attendance. They pointed out that Quebec is the area of North America with the highest cost of fibre and that in the last ten years, the annual allowable cut has decreased by nearly 40%, thereby fostering a business environment that has eroded the competitive position of companies.
“More than 90% of public forest lands are now covered by environmental certification. We call on the government to support our efforts to turn this renewable resource to good account, in particular by establishing conditions that will enable us to remain competitive,” declared QFIC board chairman Michel Lessard, who is also vice-president – forest resource management at Tembec.
In the view of QFIC president and CEO Mr. André Tremblay, “The challenges facing the forest industry are complex and cannot be discussed piecemeal. If we really want to make progress on the issues relating to the green economy in Quebec, we will need a Strategic Forum having the ability to identify the most effective measures for improving the competitiveness of Quebec businesses in the forest sector.”
The industry leaders who gathered on Nov. 18 urged the government to use energy surpluses to support the transformation of forest industry businesses. “We suggest that the government convert words into action and use its electricity surpluses to promote the development of a renewable resource through energy efficiency programs or the support of investment in the modernization of our mills and plants, thereby enhancing their competitiveness,” stated Tremblay.
The QFIC represents the interests of companies in the sectors of softwood and hardwood lumber, veneer, pulp, paper, paperboard and boards, as well as engineered wood products.
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