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Canadian firms spend billions of dollars each year to minimize the environmental and social effects of the manufacture and transport of their products. These investments include money spent on research and development, on building infrastructure and maintaining it, on making sure day-to-day processes are working well, and on complying with regulations.
In my first week in 2007 as the newly-minted President and CEO of the former National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, I sat for breakfast in Toronto with a leading environmental advocate. I asked why he and his ilk were so stridently opposed to the then-new Conservative government's environmental policies. He allowed that despite good work being done on chemicals and toxics and waste issues, the government was simply not doing enough about climate change. Action here was required to get credit there. This was my first introduction to the powerful political elixir of social licence.
Voters want to know where their potential leaders stand before they have to walk into a polling station and put a tick next to a party's name. While it's impossible for anyone to fully anticipate and articulate every possible challenge and scenario ahead of a four-year term in office, taxpayers want a predictable pattern set out.
Political leaders should be able to change their mind as circumstances change, but nothing had changed about asset sales or Kinder Morgan.