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Natural Resources Canada
2011/39
March 14, 2011

Harper Government Invests in Canada's Forest Sector


POWELL RIVER, B.C. —The Government of Canada today announced a series of important investments across the country, totalling $88 million, to protect jobs in Canada’s forest industry. John Weston, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country, was in Powell River today at the Catalyst Paper facility that recently received $13.3 million under the Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program to substantially improve the environmental performance of the mill.

“Our Government's top priority remains the economy,” said M.P. Weston. “With the economic recovery still fragile, we will continue to take action to protect and create jobs in Canada, including the important forestry jobs in Powell River.”

"We appreciate the support of the Natural Resources Canada program, which enables this investment at our Powell River mill," said Catalyst President and CEO Kevin J. Clarke. “The approval process was rigorous, and the support and enthusiasm from John Weston, M.P., in our project is also appreciated. The equipment upgrade will increase our capacity to generate low-carbon electricity from biomass. This enhances the mill's overall competitiveness, which, in turn, supports local jobs and community development — the shared benefits made possible through leadership."

Despite signs of recovery in some segments of the forest sector, there remains a need to find new and more efficient ways of using wood, wood fibre and its byproducts. This project is expected to increase the mill's production of renewable electricity by 130,000 MWh/year, enough to power almost 11,000 homes. This initiative is part of the Government of Canada’s plan to improve the environmental performance and competitiveness of Canada’s forest industry by focusing on innovation and new product development that will ultimately expand market opportunities for both traditional and novel Canadian wood, pulp and paper products.

 “With this investment in Powell River, our Government is continuing to implement our plan that supports the transformation of Canada’s forest sector for the benefit of all Canadians,” said M.P. Weston “Our investments are supporting expansion of market opportunities for Canadian forest products, reducing our environmental footprint, improving the competitiveness of the forest industry and helping protect the jobs of the families who depend on our forest sector for their livelihood.”

Today’s announcement builds on the success of many initiatives that are helping to sustain and enhance Canada’s forest industry and the communities that depend on it. Budget 2010: Leading the Way on Jobs and Growth established the $100-million Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program to promote the development, commercialization and implementation of advanced technologies in the forest sector — helping create a world-class industry able to compete in the clean energy economy of tomorrow.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

John Weston, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country, was at the Catalyst Paper mill in Powell River, British Columbia, today. The mill recently received $13.3 million to help transform the Canadian forest industry while enhancing environmental performance and competitiveness.

Media may contact:

Richard Walker
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-996-2007

or

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-992-4447

The general public may contact:

Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EDT
Telephone: 613-995-0947
TTY: 613-996-4397
(teletype for the hearing-impaired)
E-mail: questions@nrcan.gc.ca

The following media backgrounder is available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/index-eng.php:

  1. Securing Jobs Through Forest Sector Innovation and Renewal

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/index-eng.php.