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View Mark Strahl Profile
Thank you to the witnesses for your presentations.
I want to talk to Mr. Scholz. As you just heard in the questioning back and forth, there is still a lot of work to do to convince some folks that our oil and gas industry deserves respect. I want to salute you for the work that you've done with Oil Respect, which defends Canadian oil and gas and tries to get some facts out to people about what it does for our economy, what it's all about, who the women and men who work in it are, and to dispel some of those myths. I thank you for that. I might give you an opportunity to talk about that in a minute.
I did want to talk about what you said. The government is very fond of saying—it's a great catchphrase—that the environment and the economy go hand in hand. I liked what you had to say, that profitability and research and development also go hand in hand, that if you are struggling to make payroll, you're probably not dumping a lot of money into R and D, or if your company is going bankrupt, you're not investing in this country, or if companies are moving their entire operations to a different country, that's where the research and development will take place.
We're very concerned on this side about competitiveness, about the cumulative effect of government policy, be it provincial or federal, and we've seen the impact on some of the major players and heard rumours of Statoil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Total, and Chevron all divesting their Canadian assets and moving to the United States or to other places where, quite frankly, there isn't the same level of regulatory burden, or the tax structure is different.
What has the impact been on smaller drilling companies that perhaps you represent? Are we competitive still? Are you seeing this impact in the industry at your level? We're not talking now about the multinational companies, but about the Canadian small to middle-sized companies. How are we doing in terms of our competitiveness?
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