QUEEN’S PARK – Thunder Bay Superior North MPP, and Minister for Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Michael Gravelle was up in the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday. The Minister was answering a question from fellow Liberal MPP David Orazietti from Sault Ste. Marie.
Here is the transcript of the exchange between the two MPPs:
Mr. David Orazietti: My question is to the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. We’re all aware of the challenges the forestry sector continues to face, including rising operating costs and the high Canadian dollar, but our government has taken unprecedented steps to support Ontario’s forestry industry. Through the forest sector initiatives program, we’ve made available $500 million in combined grants and loan guarantees to stimulate manufacturing, equipment renewal and energy conservation. These commitments are getting results.
Recently, the minister informed us that a $25-million investment we’re making in Terrace Bay Pulp will assist in the restart of the mill and return to work roughly 300 employees.
This past Friday—more progress—we announced that St. Marys Paper is reopening in Sault Ste. Marie. Minister, could you please tell us how we made possible the reopening of St. Marys Paper?
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Just before the minister starts, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and the member from Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, I don’t appreciate, and the members don’t appreciate, the interjections across the floor that are obviously directed at each other. Please take those discussions outside the chamber.
Hon. Michael Gravelle: This is indeed a very, very good-news story—another good-news story in the forestry sector with the reopening of St. Marys Paper. Certainly I want to commend the extraordinarily hard work by the member for Sault Ste. Marie. To have this mill reopen is great news.
Very specifically, our government has provided St. Marys Paper with an $8.8-million repayable loan, a loan that will mean that the operations at the mill will be resuming production very soon and that 170 workers are going back to work. We know this loan is going to help this mill move in a very different direction and help St. Marys take advantage of new opportunities in green energy and bio-economy opportunities. It is just simply a great good-news story.
More work: the Terrace Bay Pulp mill, 340 jobs; St. Marys Paper, 170 jobs. Great work by the member from Sault Ste. Marie.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The time for question period has ended.