Canada's Resources and the National Interest

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 70, No. 779, 1977

R. D. Brown, F.C.A., Price Water-house & Co., Toronto, Ontario

In order to raise the enormous amounts of capital which will be essential for the development of Canada's mineral and petroleum resources, this country's resource industry 'must be permitted to earn an acceptable rate of return. The existing tax regime, with its high rates, complexities and misdirected incentives, presents a serious obstacle to our resource industries in their development of Canada's immense, but increasingly lean, resources. Government tax and other policies are not the only cause of the crisis now facing the resource sector in Canada, but a reformed tax system, -with stable and reasonable tax burdens, is required if Canada's resources of minerals, oil and natural gas are to continue to contribute in the future, as in the past, to our national well-being. An independent task force, organized under the auspices of the Canada West Foundation, has recently completed a wide-ranging report on the future development of Canada's mineral, oil and gas resources. This five-volume report, completed after almost two years of research and study, concludes that Canada is facing a major crisis in the development of our resources. It states that unless corrective action is taken now, mineral production and exports could decline drastically after 1985, at the same time that Canada would face massive bills for imported oil because of inadequate and declining production. The task force, chaired by the author of this article, has put forward recommendations for a fundamental shift in both federal and provincial policies in order that Canada's •mineral reserves can be developed in the national interest. This article consists of excerpts from the summary of the task force's report.