Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.
It is an honour to rise for the first time and introduce myself and the great riding of Sudbury.
Before I begin, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wife and my children, Mylène, Henri, and Théo, for their love and support, which gave me the strength to win my seat in the House of Commons.
I would also like to thank my team of hard-working supporters and all the voters in Sudbury for their confidence in me.
I also want to thank my family and friends in my home town of Kapuskasing in northern Ontario for their ongoing encouragement.
Today, I would like to tell members a bit about my great riding and the vast potential of the region of northern Ontario, and how the speech from the throne, in its elements, will profit it.
Sudbury also is a microcosm of Canada. With a majority anglophone population and over 45,000 French-speaking residents, Sudbury has the third-largest francophone community outside of Quebec and a strong indigenous population. Sudbury was built on the backs of waves of immigrants from Italy, Finland, Poland, Ukraine, and Greece, and today a strong South Asian population. It is a rich arts and culture hub of Northern Ontario, reflecting Canadian diversity.
Sudbury is located in boreal forest in the heart of the Canadian Shield and is rich in natural resources.
As stated in the Speech from the Throne, in Sudbury people see the result of immigrants building successful lives in Canada, and I am proud to stand with this government in working hard to bring in immigrants and refugees to contribute to Canada's economic success.
There is a total of 330 lakes within the city of Sudbury, more lakes than any other municipality in the world. In fact, Lake Wanapitei is the largest city-contained lake in the world. Ramsey Lake, in the heart of my riding, is the second largest lake and provides over 40,000 homes with fresh water. Sudbury is also home to the fourth largest film festival in Canada, the third and eighth largest science centres in Canada, a burgeoning film industry, and a variety of cultural and music festivals, such as the jazz festival, which I am proud to have helped launch.
I am therefore proud to be part of a government that plans to invest in culture and in Canada's creative industry, as set out in the throne speech.
I will return shortly to the many hidden gems that make Sudbury a great place to live, but I want to talk first about what my riding is known for.
Most know that Sudbury is home to one of the largest integrated mining complexes in the world. Without a doubt, it is the richest mining district in North America and is one of the leading hardrock mining regions in the world. It was a sector largely ignored by the past government and I find it important to raise it today.
From my business office in the centre of the city, I see three headframes, a smelter, and the second-largest smokestack in the world. Nowhere else in the world is the mining industry so pervasive. In fact, there are 5,000 kilometres of underground tunnels. If they were put back to back, they would go from Sudbury to Vancouver underground.
However, the real story of Sudbury's mining industry is its growing mining supply and equipment sector. As new technology and innovation led to new products and processes, these homegrown companies found eager national and international markets looking to improve their productivity. Today, the sector represents more than 300 companies in Sudbury, employing almost 14,000 skilled workers and professionals and generating approximately $4 billion in revenue each year, some 40% of the mineral production in Ontario.
Because of this innovation boom, mining research and development in Sudbury has evolved into a world-class industry all its own. Many of the brightest minds and mining-related sciences are being drawn to Sudbury to be part of one of the world's most advanced clusters of international mining research. Greater Sudbury's innovation cluster is made possible through partnerships involving post-secondary institutions, all levels of government, and some of the world's largest mining corporations.
The long-term sustainability of these mining companies is dependent on the innovative research coming out of facilities like CEMI, the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, and MIRARCO, the Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation, both located at Sudbury's Laurentian University, as well as NORCAT, the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc., which is the third major innovation partner.
Other world-class research facilities include the SNOLAB, which I will come back to in a moment, and the Vale Living with Lakes Centre at Laurentian University, where I had the great honour of welcoming our then soon-to-be prime minister last August, when he announced $200 million in annual funding in support of technology incubators and research facilities and financing for small businesses looking to grow.
Obviously, when it comes to Sudbury's success stories, it is important to mention environmental restoration.
Sudbury has received numerous awards for its aggressive land reclamation program, including a United Nations Local Government Award and the U.S. Chevron Conservation Award. Over the past 30 years, dozens of community partners have planted over 10 million trees, transforming our sulphur-damaged moonscape into a reforested vista of green. In fact, a prime example of the sustainable transformation of our mining industry and our city's landscape is coming online right now.
Currently, Vale is wrapping up a $1 billion investment in pollution controls to further reduce sulphur dioxide emissions 80% below current levels, well below government standards. When completed, Vale will be in a position to demolish its iconic smokestack. Yes, the second-largest smokestack in the world may be demolished because of the innovation in research that has been done.
In Sudbury, we strive to protect the environment and grow the economy. These have been compatible goals in Sudbury. However, more work is needed, but that is the success of the Sudbury region.
Earlier I mentioned the SNOLAB, and I want to take a moment to recognize it and its staff, particularly Dr. Arthur McDonald, for their historic contributions to humanity's understanding of our world and how it works. I am sure some of my colleagues recall that Dr. McDonald and his colleagues last month won the Nobel Prize in Physics for work largely conducted at Sudbury's SNOLAB.
SNOLAB is an international underground research facility specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics. Located two kilometres underground in the Vale Creighton Mine, SNOLAB has 5,000 square metres of clean space underground for experiments and the supporting infrastructure. It is the perfect example of what we have done in Sudbury to transform our community into a world-class centre of innovation. Sudbury has made tremendous strides and succeeded in diversifying the local economy away from only the mining extraction sector.
Sudbury is a major educational centre in northern Ontario, with two colleges and a university that offer courses in both official languages. The Regroupement des organismes francophones or ROC in Sudbury works to promote Franco-Ontarian culture through theatre, literature, visual arts, music, and books, as well as through a cultural centre that makes Sudbury a veritable hub of Canada's Francophonie.
I am proud to be part of a government that encourages and promotes the use of both official languages.
Looking forward, thanks to the support of the federal government, Health Sciences North is launching the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada, which is attracting specialists in medical research conducted on an ongoing basis.
I am also proud to be part of a government that has promised to stand up for Canadians who need support. Seniors, veterans, young people, those suffering from mental illness will be my priority.
My grandfather fought in World War II. He came back physically fine but was never the same. We now know that he suffered from PTSD and my family suffered with him. After his experience, it is important for me to ensure that no veteran or their families have to fight the government for the support and compensation they have earned. It is important that we work as hard to provide supports for people suffering from mental illness as from physical illness.
I want to conclude today by sharing with the House details of the most significant economic opportunities presented to Canadians in a generation, the Ring of Fire. In the far north of Ontario there is unparalleled opportunity for Canada and Ontario to follow Sudbury's lead and continue to diversify our economy and solidify our place as a global leader in mining innovation and technology.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my remarks.
The numbers on the Ring of Fire speak for themselves. Analysis shows that within the first 10 years of its development, the Ring of Fire will make significant contributions to Canada's economy, and will sustain up to 5,000 full-time jobs annually, create more than $25 billion in economic activity, as well as generate more than $6 billion in government tax revenues. All of this provides a compelling incentive for all governments to invest in this economic opportunity.
I know that along with my Northern Ontario caucus colleagues we will champion this opportunity by standing up for the leaders who are prospecting and investing in northern Ontario; the researchers and innovators whose work allows us to mine, process and transfer ore sustainably; and importantly, the indigenous peoples of that area who have called these lands home for generations, and ensure that they are fully engaged in reviewing and monitoring this project as promised in the Speech from the Throne. We will stand up for the men and women seeking to earn a living and support their families in one of the oldest and most respected industries in Canada, hard rock mining.
I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House of Commons to build Sudbury, northern Ontario, and Canada into a global centre for sustained mining excellence.