Madam Speaker, I am very proud to rise to support Bill C-354, which was introduced by my colleague from British Columbia.
I would like to begin by reminding my colleague from Louis-Hébert, that I think he is looking at the wrong version of the bill. Before it was amended in committee, the first draft of this bill indicated that preference should be given to construction projects that promote the use of wood. That is no longer the case because the experts who appeared before the committee said that the industry did not need a preferential approach. They simply asked that wood be considered as a possibility from the start, because that is not currently common practice in the construction industry.
After hearing from experts, amendments were made in committee, so now the bill favours a comparative approach rather than a preferential one. The bill is short and simple. The summary reads, and I quote:
...that the Minister may, in developing requirements for public works, allow the use of wood or any other thing that achieves environmental benefits.
This refers to the minister of Public Works. The clause simply states:
(1.1) In developing requirements with respect to the construction, maintenance or repair of public works, federal real property or federal immovables, the Minister shall consider any reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and any other environmental benefit and may allow the use of wood or any other thing — including a material, product or sustainable resource — that achieves such benefits.
This responds to the questions and points raised by the Conservative member who spoke earlier. I think this can help him reconsider his position.
The wood industry has had enough challenges in recent years. Workers from several sectors of the wood industry in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia told us that the government should think about integrating wood in construction. Recent innovations and technologies have made wood a potentially very beneficial material. We want to reduce our carbon footprint, and, in the cycle of life, wood has a very small footprint compared to other materials, such as concrete or steel. Using wood could make it easier to achieve the targets the government set under the Paris Agreement. This would give an economic boost to workers in regions across the country.