“Newfoundland: Open for business?” AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley triggered animated debate during the panel on this theme at the 2006 NOIA conference in St. John’s with his remarks titled “Newfoundland: Open Season on Business”.
The annual conference for the Newfoundland Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) in St. John’s attracts offshore petroleum players from around the region, the country and the world. Just months after Premier Danny Williams walked away from negotiations to develop the Hebron Ben Nevis offshore oil fields, it was not surprising conference organizers decided to ask a very fundamental question, “Is Newfoundland open for business?”
Crowley was invited to participate in the final panel, moderated by CBC’s Rex Murphy. People who took in the final session were not disappointed as the panel generated heated moments and animated discussion around the theme of the role government can and should play in creating an appropriate investment climate and protecting the interests of the population, as ultimate owners of the province’s natural resources. Pointing to a long term pattern of enticing investors to invest vast sums, and then changing the rules of the game once investors had put in their money, Crowley observed that in a world where capital is highly mobile, such behaviour is bound to poison the investment climate.
While Crowley’s remarks made some uncomfortable, others commented it needed to be said, while still others admitted they never would have had the nerve to say it out loud.
To read the full text of Brian Lee Crowley’s remarks, click here.