Jim Prentice calls for continued focus on national energy infrastructure initiatives

Governments must play a critical role to ensure infrastructure investment flows to Canada

VANCOUVER, June 21, 2012 /CNW/ - (CM: TSX) (CM: NYSE) The Hon. Jim Prentice, Senior Executive Vice President and Vice-Chairman of CIBC has called for a continued focus in developing an infrastructure plan for new pipeline access to the west coast.

Speaking to the Business Council of British Columbia, Mr. Prentice said the development of Canada's hydrocarbon deposits and the construction of the infrastructure required to bring them to new markets is fundamental to our national interest.

Mr. Prentice told his audience that there are a number of obstacles, beyond the volatile commodity prices, that Canada must overcome to attract the needed investments and move projects forward.

These include:

  • Environmental and legal complexities

  • Unresolved First Nation land claims

  • Public Support

"It's imperative for us to create an investment climate that attracts and holds international capital," said Mr. Prentice. "A key component of any such strategy is a solid public policy framework that provides consistency and transparency."

He said Canada can never take it for granted that investment will just flow to our country and our infrastructure projects.

"These may well be the most difficult public policy questions in Canada today and to expect that corporations can resolve them through a public hearing is completely unrealistic," said Mr. Prentice. "To advance our national interest, the federal government needs to take the lead. They need to consult. They need to negotiate."

Mr. Prentice laid out two things that must be done to ensure the success of any projects.

First, Ottawa must actively consult with First Nations on the unresolved land claims in British Columbia. Energy corridors will need to be secured on a non-derogation basis, allowing for development, without forcing First Nations to relinquish unresolved issues.

Second, the federal government must take the lead in developing legislative guidelines and contingency plans that will take into account the rewards as well as the environmental risks of increased west coast tanker traffic.

"This is a defining moment for Canada and the federal government has an important role to play. As does the British Columbia government, B.C.'s First Nations and, of course, the private sector," said Prentice.

Mr. Prentice joined CIBC in January 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, and as a senior Minister in the Canadian Government. CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada, in the United States 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/2012/06/21/20120621_C3200_DOC_EN_15433.pdf


For further information:

Sean Hamilton at (416)-304-8456 or sean.hamilton@cibc.com


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