Suncor CEO a 'hypocrite' to start talking about competitiveness now: Canoe's Tahmazian
It’s too late to start warning Canadians about the country’s competitiveness, according to one portfolio manager.
“It’s all coming to a head now,” Canoe Financial’s Rafi Tahmazian told BNN Bloomberg after comments this week from the heads of CIBC and Suncor. “We’ve got senior executive in the banks, and senior executives in the oil industry that seem a little hypocritical at this point [to be] coming together, talking about this.”
“This is three-year-old news. This is stuff that was obvious three years ago.”
Suncor CEO Steve Williams sounded the alarm on Trans Mountain’s most recent setback in an interview on BNN Bloomberg on Monday. The oil sands executive says Canada needs to “demonstrate that we can get things built” after an Aug. 30 federal appeal court decision ordered Ottawa to re-conduct First Nations consultation among other concerns
CIBC CEO Victor Dodig also called on Canada to boost its competitiveness, saying: “I think as a country and I think as a company within that country, we can do better.”
Tahmazian thinks it’s time for Canada to move onto other issues within its own borders.
“We’re on to new and much more important issues today. If they’re just at the point where they’re realizing that Canada is a poor place for investment and they’ve got to reinvigorate it, then we’ve got bigger problems,” he said.
He called on Justin Trudeau to admit that the federal government was in a bind when it decided to buy the Trans Mountain extension from Kinder Morgan Canada for $4.5 billion
“He purchased it because he had to buy it, or it would have been killed. Why isn’t he telling Canadians that?” Tahmazian asked.
Instead, Tahmazian argues, the country now has a crisis within the federation.
“Our economy is suffering, our federation is fractured, and if you think about it, if you dissect how this federation is coming apart at the seams, it all boils down to energy... whether it’s a pipeline running across [the country], or it’s environmental issues and it’s [the] development of oil sands, it seems to all be coming apart because of energy.”
Tahmazian thinks the answer may lie in protectionism, if only for the government to show Canada that it has the country’s back.
“Our government needs to stop worrying about how they look [on] a global level and they need to start looking inward, and protecting us as a group,” he said.
“We need to know that they’ve got our back, ours and Canada’s back. We are all so worried now that we are all, as provinces and industries trying to protect ourselves and it’s breaking down the country.”