"Canada Must Look Beyond U.S. to Strengthen Access to Global Energy Market" Address by the Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., Q.C.pdf
Advancing strategic relationship with China and Asia must become a
priority says CIBC's Prentice
CALGARY, Sept. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - CIBC (CM: TSX) (CM: NYSE) — Canada must
look past the United States if it wants to continue to gain access in
the gas and oil markets, says the Hon. Jim Prentice, Vice-Chair of
Speaking today in Calgary at a speech hosted by the University of
Calgary's School of Public Policy about possible outcomes in the U.S.
elections and changes to the leadership in China, Mr. Prentice laid out
a number of challenges that must be addressed to ensure Canada remains
competitive in the energy market.
"We are in the midst of a moment of great consequence for our energy
industry," says Mr. Prentice. "For decades we've been going about our
business in a certain way; comfortable and content within the North
Canada has been a critical supplier of energy to the United States, the
world's largest economy, and crude oil alone accounts for 15 per cent
of our exports. Canada has been fortunate to have ample natural
resources and is fortunate to live next to a country that has been in
need of those natural resources. But the world is changing and Canada
must adapt, Mr. Prentice says.
"Simply put, we need to better understand our changing world and what it
means for us," says Mr. Prentice. "In geo-political terms, this is a
highly consequential year for Canada. This fall, an election in the
United States and an election of sorts in China will serve to further
demonstrate just how dependent Canada is in our new global world."
Next month, many of China's leaders will be stepping down and Canada and
the world will begin watching to see how a new government will manage
China's growth and conduct its international relationships.
The presidential election in the United States also brings two different
views to the energy file although with one common element.
"Under either administration, I think it's safe to say the Americans
will pursue their own interests quite aggressively," says Mr.
Prentice. "And though they are great partners, we can't be lulled into
believing that their interests and our interests on energy will ever be
Even with Canada's substantial resource base, financial strength, an
open-for-business environment, fair and predictable regulations and
market-based business principles, Canada is still only exporting to one
"But there's one critical element we're missing, customers," says Mr.
Prentice. "Right now we effectively have only one buyer. Of the oil we
export, 99 per cent of it goes to the United States. That makes us a
price taker, not a price maker. And I'm not sure you fit the definition
of a so-called superpower when a single client has a firm grip on the
basket where you keep 99 per cent of your eggs."
"Let's be clear and let's not sugar-coat it. The development of Pacific
corridors for oil and liquefied natural gas stand as one of the most
important, and certainly one of the most challenging, initiatives that
our country has encountered in decades."
Mr. Prentice stressed that we need to make it a national priority to
look beyond America and advance our strategic relationship with China
and Asia. "Asia is where the growth of today is, and where the growth
of tomorrow will be. That's where we need to be."
But China and the rest of Asia will look elsewhere if Canada becomes too
cumbersome to do business with, warned Mr. Prentice.
"We offer advantages as a resource producer related to stability and
security of investment, but we are also a high-cost environment," says
Mr. Prentice. "If Asia finds it too cumbersome or bothersome to deal
with us, they'll get into business elsewhere."
Despite the challenges, Mr. Prentice believes Canada can continue to be
competitive, but it must adapt and change. He concluded by saying the
public policy choices for Canada in the coming years will be as
difficult as they are consequential.
"We have been blessed with our abundance of resources and the
opportunity to build from them a strong economy and an enviable way of
life. But prosperity is not a birthright. Only with foresight and smart
choices will we be able to fully enjoy the benefits of our national
Mr. Prentice joined CIBC on Jan. 1, 2011, and has responsibility for
expanding CIBC's relationships with corporate clients across Canada and
abroad, and for providing leadership on strategic initiatives to
enhance CIBC's position in the market. He joined the bank following a
successful career as a lawyer, Member of Parliament and one of the most
senior Ministers in the Canadian Government, serving variously as the
Minister of Industry, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister
of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution. Through
our Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale
Banking businesses, CIBC provides a full range of financial products
and services to 11 million individual, small business, commercial,
corporate and institutional clients in Canada and around the world. You
can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Press
Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2012/09/27/20120927_C2320_DOC_EN_18583.pdf
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Sean Hamilton at (416)-304-8456 or firstname.lastname@example.org