Yesterday, Premier Wall took time at the Council of the Federation to rant about the perils of so-called “capital flight” in western Canada’s energy sector. While his apocolyptic tale may have been compelling, it’s just not what’s happening in real life.
In fact, foreign investment in Canadian energy production actually increased by 2.5% from 2015 to 2016.
Contrary to Sask. Party spin, companies like Total, Royal Dutch Shell, and Conoco Phillips, did not close up shop and race south of the border after writing off or shutting down their assets. Far from flying away, these assets and projects were sold to world-class Canadian companies like Cenovus, CNRL, and Suncor and are still being developed, still producing oil, and still providing jobs to Canadian workers.
Intentionally or not, Wall is confusing a change in the name on the letterhead with the elimination of investment and jobs.
If anyone in the Sask. Party is really concerned about how energy companies are making their investments, they should look at their own record. After ten years in power, the Sask. Party have failed to improve pipeline safety, have built no new pipelines to tidewater, and have doubled the number of people in the province looking for work. At the same time, companies are investing in other provinces. For example, Cenovus’ most recent capital budget commits hundreds of millions of dollars to expand production but the only location for its new spending on conventional projects is “tight oil assets in southern Alberta.”
While it’s easy to understand why the Premier would rather talk about “capital flight” strawmen than his decade-long failure to deliver for the Saskatchewan energy sector and workers, this kind of self-serving political rhetoric does nothing to help Saskatchewan families or encourage investment in Saskatchewan.