Mr. Speaker, I want to let you know that I will be sharing my time with the member for Surrey Centre.
I would also like to thank the member for Richmond—Arthabaska for moving today's motion, which is timely and important, especially for my province's forestry industry in light of the impact that the softwood lumber dispute with the United States continues to have and the many ways in which our government is helping the industry transform at the dawn of the clean growth century.
Quebec's forests have helped define our province and its people for quite some time now, and with good reason. Two-thirds of our province's territory is forested, and thanks to prudent management and the natural diversity of our forests, the Quebec forestry sector has carved out an important place in our social, economic, and cultural traditions. Surprisingly, despite these deep roots, it was not until the 1820s that a provincial forestry management regime was created with the collection of royalties on softwood lumber harvested on crown lands. At the beginning of the 20th century, our forestry sector changed course somewhat with the development of pulp and paper.
Its spinoffs extend to every corner of the province today. This industry employs approximately 65,000 Quebeckers and exports nearly $10 billion in forestry products every year. From softwood lumber to cardboard and veneer, as well as pulp and paper, the forestry sector is the main employer in many Quebec municipalities. Softwood lumber is essential to this sector. In Quebec, about one in six forestry workers is employed by the softwood lumber industry, which generates nearly a quarter of all Canadian softwood lumber exports, which nearly all go the American market.
That is why the imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties, which total an average of 26.75%, is a serious threat to our province's softwood lumber industry. That is why our government is doing everything in its power to resolve this issue and negotiate a deal that is fair for all.
We will vigorously defend Canada's softwood lumber industry against these unfair duties, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past. At the same time, we continue to support Canada's softwood lumber sector by introducing an $867-million action plan to strengthen the industry, support its workers, and diversify the uses and markets for Canadian wood and wood products.
This action plan includes loans, loan guarantees, and other financial services for the industry under the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada; access to the work-sharing program to help employers and employees protect existing jobs; funding to provinces to help affected workers; new funding for the indigenous forestry initiative to support indigenous participation in economic development activities; extending the investments in forestry industry transformation program and the forest innovation program to support the development of next-generation Canadian wood products; and access to the expanding market opportunities program, which increases market opportunities for Canadian wood and expands wood use in construction.
We firmly believe in the Canadian forestry industry's abilities. We are determined to help the industry and its workers meet the challenges they are facing and come out stronger than ever. Our confidence in the industry comes from its ability to innovate and adapt to the clean growth economy. As the Minister of Natural Resources mentioned, there can be no global solution to climate change without the forestry sector. Why? The reason is that it is the only resource sector that takes carbon out of the air. Canadian forests are the lungs of the planet. That is why we are making strategic investments in this industry, including in several initiatives in Quebec that are the first of their kind in North America and the world.
For example, through the investments in forest industry transformation program, we have already made significant investments three Quebec projects that help support a side of the forestry industry that is perhaps less well known and that achieves some rather unexpected results. In Thurso, we invested $9 million in the Fortress Speciality Cellulose mill to support the creation of the first mill in North America that uses birch to manufacture dissolving pulp, a substance that is used in a wide variety of applications, such as automotive components, clothing, and even medical equipment.
This investment will save over 300 jobs, reduce energy and production costs, and is just one more example of how economic prosperity and environmental protection go hand in hand.
Similarly, in the Masson-Angers sector, we invested $10 million to help S.E.C Papier Masson WB implement a new technology for producing a wood fibre for the production of wood-plastic composites, the first project of its kind in North America.
These wood-plastic composites will replace non-renewable polymers and will have a wide range of applications, such as the inside panels of car doors.
With these investments, the plant will be able to maintain over 110 local jobs and create new ones, while reducing its energy consumption by 15%.
The third investment is in a company called Bioénergie AE Côte-Nord Canada in Port-Cartier, where our $44.5-million contribution will help with the construction of a commercial facility, the first of its kind in the world, that uses a technology specifically designed to convert forestry waste into a sort of renewable fuel.
This fuel will be a greener alternative to fossil fuels, and could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to conventional fuel sources. It will have many different applications, including heating and transport.
With our government's support, forestry companies like the three I just mentioned invest in research, develop new products, and find new marketing opportunities. The Origine project in the Pointe-aux-Lièvres eco-district in Quebec City opened just last month thanks to a $1.2 million investment from our government. It is the highest residential condominium tower made of solid wood in North America. This 12-storey structure built on a one-storey high concrete footing is mostly made of cross-laminated timber panels, a technology that pushes the technical limits of wood construction and takes wood to new heights. By the way, all the wood used in this project stores 2,065 tonnes of carbon.
That is our vision for the forestry sector of tomorrow, a vision in which forestry is a high value-added, high-tech sector, a leader in innovation, and a key player in the fight against climate change.
Unfortunately, the motion before us makes no mention of these kinds of initiatives. Instead, it is all about finger pointing and, in my view, all comes down to petty politics.
I will vote against the motion because we have much more important things to do. We want to support an industry that, through innovation and clean technology, and given the worldwide trend and the urgent need around the globe for everything having to do with wood, will help Canada pave the way for the low-carbon economy of tomorrow.
I am proud to say that Quebec is front and centre in these efforts.