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View Mario Simard Profile
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-09 15:53
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Ms. MacNeil, I appreciated your intervention.
To put things in perspective, I come from Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, one of Quebec's major forest regions, where the Resolute Forest Products plant had to cease operations. By the way, I would like to point out that part of my election campaign was about the forestry industry, as may be evident later.
You said the forestry sector was at a crossroads, and that struck me. If my wife were to tell me that we are at a crossroads, I would be a little afraid, because that would mean that I would have to act fairly quickly.
I don't know if you'll agree with me, but it seems to me that for the last 20 years the government has failed to act on this. There are two major fronts in the forestry industry. First, there are the trade battles that have not been fought by the federal government in recent years. The other major front is research and development.
I've been hearing about celluloid pulp for 15 years. I am told that it is better than sliced bread and that it will eventually replace many components of paint and plastic. But there has never been any significant financial support from the federal government for this industry. I do not know if you will agree with me.
I kept that image in mind during my election campaign. As I was digging, I found that from the early 1970s to the early 2000s there was a collective investment of $70 billion because the technology to make the oil sands profitable did not exist. Yet it was made profitable. I do not want to rub salt in the wound, but Quebec gained nothing from this.
Now, there's a climate crisis we are going to have to face. Several specialists on the issue tell us that the forestry sector is probably one of the best placed.
That was a long preamble and I apologize. So here's my question.
For the past 20 years, federal government support for research and development has fallen short of expectations. Do you agree with me on that? That first question was a long one, forgive me.
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