CAC President and CEO Remarks at 2016 Environmental Defence Gala

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Thank you Richard.

I look forward to this event every year, not only because Environmental Defence always throws a great party, but because it’s a great opportunity to take stock of just how quickly the conversation on environmental sustainability is evolving. For too many years, progress on sustainability has been mired in a false dichotomy. The environment vs. economy debate has effectively slowed meaningful regulatory and policy reform toward building more environmentally sustainable communities, even when many of the solutions have been at hand.

Today, few would disagree that we are entering one of the most significant societal transformations in Canadian history. I don’t want to understate the challenges ahead - and for emissions intensive and trade exposed sectors like cement, there will be many challenges – but there is now an unprecedented alignment on both the need to move to a low carbon “green economy” and in the belief that doing so will make our economy stronger and our lives better.

For all the hyperbole that once dominated the national conversation on carbon pricing, now it’s here. It’s been a week since the Ontario government released its Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act and the related Cap and Trade Regulations. Am I wrong in feeling like Ontarians have already moved on? It’s a monumental achievement and let me take a moment to congratulate Premiere Wynne, Minister Murray and their cabinet colleagues on this historic step forward.

What’s happening here in Ontario is an important reminder to politicians that Canadians are prepared to accept bold political decisions if those decisions are made through thoughtful, transparent collaboration with a broad spectrum of solutions oriented partners.

Right here in Ontario, the Clean Economy Alliance, which was spearheaded by Environmental Defence and of which the cement industry is proud to be a founding member, is symbolic of the consensus that Canada needs a stronger, cleaner, low carbon economy.

As the sector that provides the raw material that underpins so much of the infrastructure needed to support modern communities, the Cement Association of Canada and its members across Canada are proud of the role we have been playing - and will continue to play -  in charting a path to a smart, prosperous, and sustainable Canada.

Thank you and all the best for an enjoyable evening.