MPs to hold committee hearings on wood pulp giant

Members of Parliament voted to summon the owner of Canada’s largest wood pulp producer and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne to testify before the natural resources committee.

The proposal proposed by New Democratic Party MP Charlie Angus was passed on Friday morning during a closed committee meeting. It called on the committee to hold two meetings to review the ownership structure in the Canadian pulp and paper industry and Paper Excellence, as well as the company’s business relationships.

Among the potential witnesses named in the petition is Jackson Wijaya, CEO of Paper Excellence, who often goes unnoticed.

Charlie Angus stands in front of the microphone, arms outstretched, wearing a three-piece suit.
NDP Member of Parliament Charlie Angus said that he hopes to hold hearings on Paper Excellence as soon as possible. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Angus said he is pushing for hearings to be held as soon as possible. But with Congress about to begin a two-week break, the committee hearings may not take place until after Congress resumes its sitting on April 17.

This petition follows an investigation of CBC News’ Paper Excellence in conjunction with other media outlets — part of a broader look at the global forestry industry under the auspices of the Association of Regulatory Journalists. International Investigations (ICIJ).

The investigation found that those behind or affiliated with Paper Excellence appear to have dense corporate usage patterns, including tax havens, that effectively shield transactions and assets from scrutiny. public and government.

The company will not be public about its past grants, some of which were facilitated at one point by US$1.25 billion in on-demand debt with the Bank. China Development. The bank is owned by the Chinese government.

The CBC investigation also found leaked records and internal accounts showing that Paper Excellence, at least until a few years ago, appeared to have worked closely — and secretly — to release the strategic and business decisions with Asia Pulp & Paper, one of the largest companies in the world. paper and pulp player. Environmental groups have claimed Asia Pulp & Paper has a record of destroying the environment.

The company asserts that Paper Excellence is completely independent of Asia Pulp & Paper and owned solely by Jackson Wijaya, a member of the family that owns Asia Pulp & Paper and the Indonesian giant Sinar Mas.

With the recent acquisition of Resolute Forest Products, Paper Excellence is now Canada’s largest producer of wood pulp and manages nearly 22 million hectares of Canadian forests.

The committee’s decision to hold Paper Excellence hearings comes just days after the company signed up two more representatives to lobby on its behalf.

On March 27, a few days after Angus served notice on March 21 of its plan to file a petition calling for a hearing, James Maunder and Stephen Yardy of PAA Advisory acted on behalf of the registrar lobby 13 government organizations to “facilitate discussions between Paper Excellence Canada and the federal government regarding corporate activities in Canada.”

Maunder has served in the past as an aide to former Conservative cabinet minister James Moore, while Yardy has worked for several NDP MPs. They join other PAA Advisors staff members who have signed up to lobby on behalf of the company, including a former Liberal employee.

Among the government officials and the organizations they register to lobby are members of Parliament, the Senate, ministries, the Competition Bureau and the Prime Minister’s Office.

Previously, the company had said it would appear if the committee asked it to testify.

“If invited, Paper Excellence welcomes the opportunity to answer committee questions about Canada’s commitment to job creation and development of the forestry industry, maintaining a positive working relationship with governments at all levels across the country. water,” the company said in a statement on March 22.

It has yet to respond to questions from CBC about whether Widjaya himself testified.

Elizabeth Thompson can be reached at


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