Brian Porter told the Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) annual shareholder meeting that it should be a national priority to improve Canadian access to global energy markets.
Porter also noted in his prepared remarks for the speech in Ottawa that the sharp decline in oil prices in recent months has hurt the country's economy and its outlook for GDP growth.
Oil prices have been hovering near six-year lows, as a global oversupply and soft demand cut the price of crude to about US$50 a barrel from as much as US$107 a barrel early last summer.
Meanwhile, a number of pipeline projects — including TransCanada's (TSX:TRP) Keystone XL — remain mired in delays.
Porter called on corporate, government and community leaders to focus their attention on improving energy infrastructure.
"It is clear our inability to deliver energy to the world is detrimental to Canada's economy," Porter said.
"It's also detrimental to our country's brand and future economic prospects for all Canadians ... Global market access for Canadian energy must be a common objective that we pursue vigorously."
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