Madam Speaker, before I begin my speech, I would like to take a moment to say how surprised I am at the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent's remarks.
His remarks were germane to the debate at second reading stage. The bill has since been amended, clearing up the issues he raised in his speech. I am somewhat surprised, as he is usually so thorough and never cuts corners when studying legislation. To my great surprise, he seems to have failed to understand the nature of the proposed amendments.
Allow me to recap so that everyone understands this bill's history. When it was first introduced, it sought to give preferential treatment to wood and to prioritize its use in federal buildings. It was then referred to a committee, where experts appeared to explain in simple terms that wood did not need preferential treatment and that there was no need to prioritize it over other materials. The problem is that the use of wood is often not even considered. The industry has often said that it does not need preferential treatment and that all it wants is to make sure builders consider wood. The bill was amended accordingly.
For example, architecture students are not even taught that they can use wood or they are given only a few hours of instruction on the subject over the course of the entire program. That is why people do not often think to use wood. We do not even get to where we can consider its potential benefits.
As amended, the legislation will ensure that people know to ask. When building a structure, they will consider the building materials available to them and weigh the environmental benefits of using non traditional materials. If they see that there is a significant advantage to using wood, they may decide to do so.
There is, in fact, no preferential treatment. The market will still be free. Every industry can promote the advantages of its own materials. The wood industry is simply asking us to consider using wood. It is confident that it can convince people to use wood without getting preferential treatment because it knows that its products have a lot to offer in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon capture, on top of having a positive impact on the Canadian construction industry.
We therefore went from a preferential approach, in the first incarnation of the bill, to a comparative approach, whereby markets remain free. No one is being forced. The bill simply states that any potential repercussions on the environment will be considered and taken into account. That is the main difference between the original bill and where we are now. If we only look at what wood has to offer, all its benefits become clear.
I have seen a concrete example of this in my riding. For the longest time, the Long Point First Nation community did not have a school. It was very sad. The children had been attending a school in the next town that was shut down by the school board. The school was in really bad shape. It even had mould. The kids spent years in a makeshift classroom in a gymnasium with no windows. This had serious repercussions on the kids' morale.
The town finally got a new school designed by an architect who had a really incredible vision. The school is in the shape of a beehive. There are hexagons in every part of the school, and it is built entirely out of wood. It is extraordinary. The children are now in a learning environment that motivates them. The atmosphere is completely different. This clearly shows how it is possible to build beautiful buildings out of wood.
It is a really long drive, since the town is quite far away, but if anyone has a chance to come and see the school some day, they will see how amazing it is. It is a perfect example of just how effectively wood can be used.
I think everyone can appreciate a bill like the one my colleague introduced, especially in its current form, with the Liberals' amendment. I know that they worked with my colleague in committee to get everyone to agree on the amendment so that the bill would be acceptable to everyone. In its current form, it is an excellent bill that meets the reasonable demands and needs of the industry. It can have a significant impact on the forestry industry and on the environment, since the use of wood has environmental benefits. Buildings are not built to be destroyed, but when they must be destroyed, those built out of wood have a much smaller environmental impact. Furthermore, they have a lesser impact on the local community and on the surrounding wildlife.
I think that the use of wood is a forward-looking solution. Large buildings can be built quickly and at a lower cost. Wood-construction technologies have evolved quite a bit. What was unthinkable before is now easily achievable. Changes have made it possible to build wood structures that are more than six storeys. Some buildings in my riding were built with a lot of wood, which gives the projects a unique touch. We can be proud of raising awareness of the use of wood in building construction.
The forestry industry has been mismanaged in recent years. In the last Parliament, I moved a motion on a national forestry strategy, and I moved it again during this Parliament because it is still current. Although my colleague's measure is extremely important, if we really want to support the forestry industry, we have to develop several strategies, and the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, along with the industry and the indigenous communities, will have to sit down together.
Together we can come up with all sorts of solutions to find the way forward for our forestry industry, which has a lot to offer. The problem is that we tend to overlook all that it can bring to the Canadian economy, not to mention the various products we use. Sometimes we end up missing out because we failed to consider a particularly interesting option that did not necessarily require preferential treatment to be successful. Sometimes a simple idea can spark the best solution. If no one tell us to determine the viability of a solution, it remains an unexplored idea and we are no further ahead.
I hope that hon. members will consider my colleague's bill. I also hope that the Conservative members will take the time to read the amendment in order to fully understand its scope, since it changes the bill considerably. I also think that it is time for the Conservatives to adapt their speech to the new version.
Lastly, I had the chance to meet the forest committee of the Union des municipalités du Québec. The committee members have a lot of concerns about the forestry sector and I think they deserve to get more support. It is a multi-pronged challenge, especially when it comes to the skills shortage. We have to do better when it comes to the forestry. I invite my colleagues to vote in favour of my colleague's bill.