Friday, July 14, 2006

And now, the Prime Minister...

One of the nice things about signing up to Prime Minister Harper's email list is that you get to read the text of major speeches he delivers across the country and around the world.

Here, then, is an excerpt from his speech to the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce delivered today in London:

One of the primary targets for British investors has been our booming energy sector.They have recognized Canada’s emergence as a global energy powerhouse – the emerging “energy superpower” our government intends to build.

It’s no exaggeration.

We are currently the fifth largest energy producer in the world.

We rank 3rd and 7th in global gas and oil production respectively.

We generate more hydro-electric power than any other country on earth.

And we are the world’s largest supplier of uranium.But that’s just the beginning.

Our government is making new investments in renewable energy sources such as biofuels.And an ocean of oil-soaked sand lies under the muskeg of northern Alberta – my home province.

The oil sands are the second largest oil deposit in the world, bigger than Iraq, Iran or Russia; exceeded only by Saudi Arabia.

Digging the bitumen out of the ground, squeezing out the oil and converting it in into synthetic crude is a monumental challenge.

It requires vast amounts of capital, Brobdingnagian technology, and an army of skilled workers.

In short, it is an enterprise of epic proportions, akin to the building of the pyramids or China’s Great Wall. Only bigger.

By 2015, Canadian oil production is forecast to reach almost 4 million barrels a day.

Two thirds of it will come from the oil sands.

Even now, Canada is the only non-Opec country with growing oil deliverability.And let’s be clear. We are a stable, reliable producer in a volatile, unpredictable world.

We believe in the free exchange of energy products based on competitive market principles, not self-serving monopolistic political strategies.

That’s why policymakers in Washington – not to mention investors in Houston and New York – now talk about Canada and continental energy security in the same breath.

That’s why Canada surpassed the Saudis four years ago as the largest supplier of petroleum products to the United States.

And that’s why industry analysts are recommending Canada as “possessing the most attractive combination of circumstances for energy investment of any place in the world.”

British companies are already significant players in the Canadian energy sector.

BP has been there for 50 years. It’s already one of our leading producers of natural gas and it has a major stake in Canada’s next huge gas development – The Mackenzie River Delta in the Northwest Territories.

BG Group has also accumulated a large exploration stake in the Mackenzie River Valley.

There are trillions of cubic feet of gas in the region, and we are hopeful that the huge pipeline needed to deliver it to southern markets will finally go ahead.

British firms invested nearly three billion pounds (over $6 billion) in our energy and metals sectors last year.

And I think we’ll see even more British investment as word of Canada’s stature as the West’s most important energy storehouse gets out.

Of course, the energy sector is not the only source of British investment.

There are already about 650 UK-based companies and subsidiaries operating in Canada. You employ more than 70,000 people in 20 different industries.

British exports to Canada was close to five billion pounds ($10 billion) last year.

And even if you’re not doing business in Canada, chances are you’re vacationing there.

We welcomed over nearly a million visitors from the U.K. last year.

And we look forward to seeing you all at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia.

Canada is not as big a player in Britain as we’d like to be, but we’re getting there.

I’m glad to see many of you sporting Blackberrys.

They’re made in Canada, you know.

The Ontario manufacturer, Research in Motion, recently got security approvals from Whitehall and has started selling its marvellous devices to several ministries.

Chances are the video card in your computer monitor was made by ATI Technologies of Toronto.

One of our home-grown heroes is Quebec-based Bombardier, the aircraft and rail car manufacturer.

Believe it or not, Bombardier is the largest full-time employer in Northern Ireland.

All this means we’re not just hewers of wood and drawers of water anymore.

Although we’re still pretty good at those things too.The great granite plate known as the Canadian Shield is a vast storehouse of precious metals.

We have long been a major producer of nickel, gold, copper, potash, coal and cement.

But it may be news to you that Canada is now the world’s third largest producer of diamonds.

A decade ago Canadian diamonds were only a gleam in a prospector’s eye.

Today there are three producing mines and two more in development.

And the Royal Bank predicts diamonds will bring over 30 billion pounds (almost $70 billion) to the Canadian economy over the next 25 years.

The Shield also yields a third of the world’s uranium supply.

There aren’t many hotter commodities – so to speak – in the resources market these days.

The price is higher than it’s been in three decades.

Around the world, nearly 200 new reactors are proposed, planned or under construction.

And, as you know, Britain is one of the countries considering expansion of its nuclear generating capacity.

We’ll hope you’ll remember that Canada is not just a source of uranium.

We also manufacture state-of-the-art Candu reactor technology, and we’re world leaders in the safe management of fuel waste.

Which is one more reason to think of Canada as an energy superpower - and a strong candidate for British investment.

I know Britain’s trade orientation has successfully focussed on the European Union in recent years. But the success of British enterprise, for centuries, has been its ability to spot opportunities and nimbly move to exploit them.

That is something else we learned from you.

So you’ll forgive me if I remind you of it now,because the world is beating a path to our door.

And we want Britain to be as much a part of our future as she has been of our past.

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