MONTREAL, Nov. 18, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec Forest Industry
Council (QFIC) and the senior executives of six major forest companies
today strongly urged the government to make a key priority of the
issues and challenges of competitiveness that are vital to maintaining
the long-term viability of the entire forest industry. They thus
invited the government of Quebec to take advantage of the Rendez-vous
de la forêt québécoise [provincial forest sector gathering] taking
place this week in Saint-Félicien to lay the foundations of a new
partnership to support the development of a green economy. Steps in
that direction 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.
Competitiveness: major forest companies call on the government to offer
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 to make the government aware of the importance of the
industry's competitiveness-related challenges and to rally around the
position of the QFIC. Mr. Louis Brassard, Chief Executive Officer of Tafisa Canada, Mr. Richard Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Resolute Forest Products, Mr. James N. Hogg, President and CEO of Uniboard, Mr. James Lopez, Chief Executive Officer and President of Tembec, Mr. Yvon Pelletier, President of the dissolving pulp division of Fortress Paper, and Mr. Charles Tardif, Vice President - Procurement and Business Development at Maibec, were
among the public figures in attendance who pointed out that Quebec is
the area of North America where the cost of fibre is highest 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.
"A leader in the green economy thanks to our innovative businesses, our
industry has been developing new processes which, among other things,
make it possible to use renewable materials to make products that can
be substituted for products made using non-renewable resources. We have
also achieved considerable gains in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Furthermore, 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 Mr. Michel Lessard, who is also
Vice-President - Forest Resource Management at Tembec.
"Rendez-vous" is a must-attend event
In the view of QFIC President and CEO Mr. André Tremblay, the
forthcoming "Rendez-vous de la forêt québécoise" will present the
government with an excellent opportunity for announcing some concrete
commitments concerning the forest industry. "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," he explained.
Today, the industry leaders who gathered together went further and 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," concluded Mr.
The industry hereby reaches out to the government to define a new
win-win partnership with the objective of maintaining the
competitiveness of the forest industry and thereby helping to position
Quebec as a world leader in the green economy.
About the QFIC
The QFIC is the voice of Québec's forest industry. It represents the
interests of companies in the sectors of softwood and hardwood lumber,
veneer, pulp, paper, paperboard and boards, as well as engineered wood
manufactures. The QFIC numbers more than 98 regular members operating
in the softwood and hardwood lumber, veneer, pulp, paper, cardboard and
panel sectors of Quebec, as well as 150 associate members. Each year,
these companies generate $15.9 billion in business and close to $3
billion in wages and benefits, of which nearly $1.5 billion is returned
to governments in the form of taxes paid by companies and workers.
SOURCE: Quebec Forest Industry Council
For further information:
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC)
418 657-7916, ext. 411