“My belief in the importance of Canada-headquartered companies goes back to the early 1970s when, as a young engineer, I joined the Canadian subsidiary of a Nebraska-based oil and gas company. While I was treated well and given substantial responsibility, I yearned to work for a company where the decisions were made in Calgary, not Omaha. That opportunity came with a new startup called the Alberta Energy Company. I joined AEC to head the building of the oil and gas division.
The company grew quickly. But five years later, the entire oil and gas industry was struck a huge blow by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program that capped oil prices below world levels and slapped a confiscatory tax on the gross revenues of energy companies. Canada-headquartered companies were supposed to benefit from cash grants, provided we shifted our drilling to federally owned lands. But most of those lands were in the Arctic where drilling costs were prohibitive and access to pipelines non-existent. After the Mulroney Conservatives killed the Trudeau policies in 1985, AEC got back to the job of company building.