Keynote Address by Parliamentary Secretary Kim Rudd, on behalf of the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, at the Opening Ceremony for the 20th Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference

Speech

China National Convention Center, Beijing, China
April 6, 2016

Good morning, everyone. It is a great honour to be with you here today at the Pacific Region’s premiere nuclear conference and to bring greetings on behalf of the Government of Canada and the Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. 

As a recently appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources, I have the privilege of shepherding the nuclear files for the Government of Canada. I’m pleased to be doing so as part of the new government: a government that stands behind evidence-based policy; a government that supports clean technology to address climate change; and a government committed to public engagement. 

What has not changed with our government is Canada’s long-standing relationship with China and our history as major trading partners. In fact, trade between our two countries topped $85 billion last year, and China was second only to the United States as a destination for Canadian exports. 

Canadians are proud to be a leading supplier of key resources to the Chinese economy, including lumber and wood pulp and vital minerals and metals such as copper and iron ore. Our two countries are expanding trade opportunities in clean energy, which is another reason why I welcome the chance to participate in this timely and important conference.

Our government is eager to support the promising opportunities that already exist between Canada and China and to expand them with a low-carbon, clean growth economy of our future because we are natural partners. 

Of course, Canada was proud to host the 19th Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, two years ago. So in many ways, today is feeling like a passing of the torch. I can’t imagine a better way to do that or to build on the successes of Vancouver than to do so here in such an impressive setting between two great nuclear nations. 

Ladies and gentlemen, Canada and China have a strong and successful track record of mutually beneficial collaboration on nuclear energy projects. It’s a history that dates back to 1994 when we signed the first Canada–China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. Indeed, our collaboration in building the two CANDU reactors at Qinshan has benefited both our nations, and our relationship has continued to deepen ever since. Today, China is the world centre of nuclear energy growth. With 30 units in operation and 24 under construction, Beijing is a logical choice for this important conference. 

I want to congratulate our Chinese hosts, the Pacific Nuclear Council, and everyone who helped pull together this 20th edition. You’ve done a wonderful job. 

I also want to acknowledge Canada’s delegation here led by Dr. Ron Oberth, President of the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries. Through our trade mission here, Canada has an opportunity to showcase an expertise in nuclear energy and our nation’s strong willingness to work with and learn from all of our partners here. That’s why more than 30 Canadians from various companies and organizations have chosen to make the trip. Companies such as BWXT, Cameco and SNC-Lavalin represent just a few of the many Canadian firms that are successfully building international relationships and business ties here in China and, indeed, around the world. 

That’s why if there’s one thing we learned from the 2014 conference in Vancouver, it’s that gatherings like this one are very important. They give us a chance to pause and reflect on the road just travelled, to talk about lessons learned and to share new ideas and innovations. Gatherings like this also allow us to reconnect and to renew our commitments to a sustainable energy future and to re-energize our spirits. Most of all, they excite us with the nuclear industry’s bright future, particularly in a world that increasingly values sustainable practices, a world that has committed to working toward a low-carbon economy — a goal we will only be able to meet by working together. 

This is your strength. An industry built on smart technology and even smarter people and an industry willing to reach out and work together. You can see that just with a quick look around this room today. This year’s conference has drawn a veritable who’s who of the nuclear world. So many of the industry’s leading voices and brightest minds are here in one place: senior government officials, top industry representatives, researchers, academics and regulators. This is how you foster the personal contact and promote the international partnerships that are critical to sustaining a strong and successful nuclear sector.

I’m proud to say that Canada and China have long understood this. Canada has grown as a valued partner to China in all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle and supply chain, from the supply of uranium to the co-development of the Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor. That’s why Canada is so strongly represented here with such a large delegation at the 2016 trade mission to China. We recognize the vital role that Canadian nuclear suppliers can play in China’s plan to build new nuclear reactors, to refurbish its existing infrastructure and to take our shared expertise to offshore markets, whether in the form of the Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor or working together on the development of small modular reactors. 

And so our two countries are committed to expanding and strengthening our Sino-Canadian relationship whenever and wherever possible. Because the opportunities for us to work together have rarely been more promising or more obvious than they are today. Not just in nuclear energy, but throughout the energy sector and the development of Canadian technologies. 

That’s why, for example, Canada and China were among the 20 founding countries behind Mission Innovation, an ambitious new global partnership that aims to double government investments in clean technology and clean energy technology and research and development over the next five years. We want to drive innovation like never before and accelerate the global transition to a low carbon future — all things that the nuclear industry is uniquely suited to deliver. 

With the Paris Climate Change Agreement, new doors are opening for nuclear power generation as a clean, safe and reliable source of energy. This dovetails with our government’s own commitment to make sure a strong economy and a clean environment go hand in hand. 

As the world unites to combat climate change as the challenge of our generation, we have an opportunity to deepen our collaboration, to create tomorrow’s clean jobs and to deliver on our international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is our chance to work more closely together than ever: government to government; business to business; regulator to regulator; and laboratory to laboratory. You have the power to change the world and make it cleaner, brighter and more prosperous for us all.

I’m looking forward to bringing back ideas to Canada to see how we can further advance our mutual interests in a concrete way. On behalf of the Government of Canada and Minister Carr, I thank you for your warm welcome. I encourage all of you to visit the Canadian Pavilion at the exhibition. And I wish you a successful and memorable conference.

Thank you.


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