Time For A Canadian Energy Strategy, Business Leaders Say

Canada’s federal and provincial governments should agree on a long-term strategy that will position Canada as a global leader in the transition to cleaner energy while maximizing the economic benefits of Canada’s diverse energy resources, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) said today.

“There is no lack of ideas on how to strengthen Canada’s energy advantage. What is needed is focus, discipline and follow-through,” the CCCE says in a report to energy minsters in advance of their meeting later this week in Kananaskis, Alberta.

The CCCE is Canada’s premier business association, representing 150 chief executive officers and leading entrepreneurs in all sectors and regions of the country.

“Canada is blessed with abundant energy resources, as well as the skills and technology that are required to develop them,” said The Honourable John Manley, the CCCE’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “But our future as an energy leader is not guaranteed. We need smart policy and private sector commitment to spur the necessary investments and realize the jobs and other benefits for Canadians from coast to coast.”

The report, titled Kananaskis 2011: Building an Agenda for a Sound Energy Future, puts forward a number of key recommendations for the energy ministers, including: 

  • Improve regulatory efficiency: To ensure Canada remains competitive in global energy markets, governments should improve the transparency, timeliness and predictability of regulatory approval processes for major energy projects.
  • Tap global markets: The public and private sectors should work together to increase access to growing global markets for Canadian energy, technologies and expertise. For the foreseeable future, the United States will remain our primary energy market. But demand elsewhere is growing rapidly, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, and Canada needs to do more to expand and diversify its energy trading relationships.
  • Re-affirm market-based energy policy: In an era in which most of the world’s energy resources are state-controlled, Canada’s energy strategy should continue to embrace market principles and encourage private-sector investment. At the same time, targeted and modest public support to expand renewable and lower-carbon energy sources will help to unlock Canada’s potential and ensure energy development that benefits Canadians in all regions.
  • Be a leader in new energy technologies: Governments should encourage public-private collaboration and innovation in energy production, distribution and use. A key objective should be to position Canada as a major exporter of environmentally advanced energy technologies and services.

Founded in 1976, the CCCE is a non-partisan organization that engages in public policy research, consultation and advocacy. Its members lead companies that collectively administer $4.5 trillion in assets, employ more than 1.4 million men and women and are responsible for most of Canada’s private-sector exports, investment and training.