Energy group calls for better tax and regulation to restore competitiveness
Ottawa – The head of the group that represents Canada’s oil and gas industry is calling on the federal government to cut taxes and ease regulatory burdens to restore the energy sector’s competitiveness with the United States and other global producers.
Tim McMillan, CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, says Canada is “falling behind” and must act now to restore investor confidence, citing in particular lower corporate taxes and business-friendly regulatory changes by the U.S. under President Donald Trump.
McMillan appeared at a news conference in Ottawa one day before the federal budget is presented but the event was cast as the introduction of a series of economic reports, not an attempt to influence the budget.
In answer to a question, however, McMillan said last year’s budget sent a “terrible signal to the world” by limiting allowable tax deductions for oil and gas exploration wells.
He added there are currently some 50 changes to energy industry policies being contemplated by provincial and federal governments, including recently proposed sweeping changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the National Energy Board, that are harming Canada’s reputation as a transparent and fair place to do business.
McMillan said he’s heard from some Calgary-based energy CEOs with operations in the U.S. who say lower taxes are making them more likely to invest there than in Canada.
Suncor Energy CEO Steve Williams said on a conference call earlier this month that “Canada needs to up its game” to attract investment away from the U.S.