MONTREAL (From the Montreal Economic Institute) -- On May 11, the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) presented the John Dobson Medal for Free Enterprise to Mr. Richard Garneau, president and chief executive officer of Resolute Forest Products.
"We award this medal to individuals who defend free enterprise, among other things by standing up to lobby groups that attempt to undermine economic end entrepreneurial freedom. And on this count, this year's recipient is quite a fighter!" says Michel Kelly-Gagnon, president and chief executive officer of the MEI.
When Greenpeace began targeting his company and his workers by claiming they "destroyed forests" and by producing multiple disinformation campaigns aimed at making them lose important customers, Richard Garneau decided to stand up to them by adopting an attitude of, in his own words, moral leadership. "If you believe you're on firm ground, you stand firm," points out Mr. Garneau.
Thus, contrary to many companies in similar situations, Resolute decided to meet Greenpeace's repeated attacks head-on. And in the end, forced to justify its allegations in a court of law, the activist group finally recognized that its accusations against Resolute were "heated rhetoric" and consisted of "non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion," and should be understood as "figurative rather than literal" and not expose them to any legal responsibility. They also recognized that Resolute had caused "no loss of forest cover." Serious admissions, which unfortunately come only after years of irresponsible attacks.
"For his courage, and for his commitment to his shareholders, to his employees, and to the rural families and communities for whom the responsible harvesting of the forest is a way of life, Richard Garneau embodies the type of person John Dobson would have been proud to see rewarded with a medal bearing his name. Our society needs more businesspeople willing to stand up to defend the principles and benefits of the free market," concludes Michel Kelly-Gagnon.