Former Encana CEO: Canada just not competitive enough to invest in
Canada is “dithering” and becoming increasingly irrelevant to the global energy industry as the country struggles to develop energy infrastructure projects, according to former Encana chief executive Gwyn Morgan.
“For me to see my former company now moving their assets, their investments and their budget to the U.S. is a sign of the times,” Morgan said in an interview with BNN on Friday.
“I don’t blame [Encana’s] leaders. They have to do what they have to do. But the fact is that Canada isn’t competitive in terms of getting projects approved. It’s not competitive in terms of getting the full price for our products, and it’s not competitive in terms of the home government’s attitude toward the industry in general.”
Morgan’s comments come after the federal Liberal government announced Thursday a regulatory overhaul for reviewing natural resource projects, creating the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada and replacing the National Energy Board with the Canadian Energy Regulator.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who introduced the Impact Assessment Act, said the new legislation will help improve clarity and certainty about how the review process works, and that it sets legislated timelines for making a decision on projects.
But Morgan said he questions how effective the overhaul will be and is worried about the ultimate impact.
“This is a national thing,” he said. “We are dithering our way toward becoming irrelevant to the international industry.”
His criticism echoes comments made by Suncor Energy’s (SU.TO) CEO that the country is losing ground to others in creating conditions to attract investment.
“We’re having to look at Canada quite hard,” Steve Williams said in a conference call Thursday. “The cumulative impact of regulation, and higher taxation than other jurisdictions is making Canada a more difficult place to allocate capital in.”