The Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference

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Peter Tertzakian
Peter Tertzakian
Chief Energy Economist
ARC Financial Corporation
Peter Tertzakian  

Excerpts from speech delivered to the Conference:

Canada is the fifth largest producer of oil and gas in the world. We’re the third largest exporter of oil, all to the United States, and about the fifth or sixth largest exporter of natural gas. We are a major global player.... Add it all up - $115 billion in upstream oil and gas revenue. The auto industry is $65 billion; forestry and logging, $10 billion; wheat and barley, $8 billion; uranium $1 billion. This is a very important industry to Canada.

You might say, “So what? This doesn’t affect me.” I say, it does affect you. Do you have a pension plan? Then it affects you - 25% of the Toronto Stock Exchange is oil and gas, 30% is financial services and most of those are banks and investment banks that draw a lot of their fees from financing oil and gas companies... So if anything happens to this business, watch out. A renaissance of innovation in North American oil and gas, combined with societal changes in energy consumption, is creating an increasingly competitive environment that challenges the longstanding assumption Canada will always have a ready market in the US. Our future prosperity is potentially at risk if we don’t globalize beyond the borders of North America....

No more than a year ago I had a reporter from Germany come into my office. We talked about energy. We talked about Canada. I said, you know, we’re politically stable, low levels of corruption, very highly skilled work force, rule of law, and the list goes on and on. I told him about the changes happening in our oil and gas industry. How we’re the fifth largest in the world. He said, in terms of free market exporters, there’s no other country in the world like Canada except Australia and they’re not even in the top ten. We stood up, he looked at me and said, “You guys have it all, don’t you.” And it kinda hit me. I turned around looked out the window and thought about what I had said, and said, “Yeah. We have it all.”

Do we know we have it all? Do we act like we have it all? That’s my challenge to you. You’re the leaders of tomorrow. You have to lead like we have it all. You have to lead like we have it all and not take it for granted.

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