Canada’s energy industry has been and continues to be slow in responding proactively to the concerted and well-funded efforts by domestic and foreign anti-oil activists and organizations to push non-factual narratives into the public discourse and mainstream news media. Energy companies and advocacy organizations are now struggling an uphill battle to be heard as a credible source of information with the public who, unless they work in the industry, have a limited understanding of the advantages Canada’s petroleum industry has over all other oil and natural gas producing nations in the world.
At a Canadian Club event in Toronto, Royal Bank CEO Dave McKay of Canada’s largest bank and CEO of the largest pipeline company Enbridge, Al Monaco, said the country needs an energy strategy that will better balance environmental and Indigenous goals with the need to develop its abundant oil and gas resources.
They noted Canada is suffering from what they say is an undeserved negative environmental image and that international investors have lost interest in funding Canadian projects. During the 45-minute discussion, both CEOs agreed the world has a growing thirst for Canada’s energy production and the sector contributes mightily to the country’s gross domestic product, though offered no specific advice for the federal government.
Mr. Monaco said Canada has among the best resources, capital markets, regulatory systems, and technologies in the world but it needs an energy strategy to “put the pieces together.” He says the government shouldn’t mix social policy issues with its project regulatory reviews, a point made by critics of Ottawa’s proposed Bill C-69 to replace the National Energy Board. “We need to a have a strong energy policy in this country. We need to have a strong climate policy and we need to have Indigenous reconciliation. Those need to be at the policy or umbrella level. Once those are set and we know the rules as investors, then we can say, ‘All right, I got the game plan, now here’s how I can build a project within that context.'”