An Open Letter from Andrew Johns to Kevin O'Leary

Hi Kevin,

I read your Open Letter to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. While you provide some helpful solutions, shame on you for twisting so many of what you call “the facts”.

I don’t live in Alberta, nor am I a supporter of Rachel or the NDP.  I’m not as rich as you, but I have reached significant wealth through hard work, commitment and a bit of luck. I, too, am not a shameless publicity seeker.

You seem to imply that the jobs being lost in Alberta in the Energy Sector are a result of Mrs. Notley’s policies and decisions (or lack there of). However, if you simply look at the share price performance of the world’s largest energy companies, then Alberta’s big companies such as; Suncor, Canadian Natural Resources and Imperial Oil are holding up pretty well by comparison. If you need evidence, this graph shows you the price performance of these various energy companies since Mrs. Notley was sworn-in on May 24, 2015. (ref. Google Finance)

image

Slashing Royalty Rates ≠ More Jobs

First you write, “Now let’s talk about the 63,000 people that have lost their jobs. This is 100% your fault in my opinion.”  Are you kidding me? Unless you expect Rachel to nationalize every energy company in Alberta and put every worker on government payroll, there’s no way she is responsible for all of these job losses. But who knows, maybe this 1980s communist style of government is what you’re looking for.

Then you state the Alberta Government should, “On existing gas and oil production, slash royalty rates by 50% for the next 24 months so that companies have more cash to do their own employee retention.”  Do you honestly think for a second that if the government did this, it would translate into a reduction of layoffs? You know full well that these layoffs are happening globally and no matter what government policies are implemented, a CEO of a publicly listed energy company would be strung up at the nearest tree by one of your own portfolio managers for not cutting costs, including jobs!

If Alberta energy companies were the only companies laying people off globally, you would have a point. Unfortunately you completely fail with this argument.

Make Alberta Oil Attractive

You claim your strategy as follows: “The whole idea is to make Alberta the most attractive domain on earth to invest the incremental energy dollar for any investor anywhere.” You know full well Alberta oil production needs at least a market price of $50-$80/barrel to garner a small profit.  The amount of concessions, tax dollars and resources that would have to go into making Alberta energy exploration and production, “the most attractive domain on earth” is a complete pipe dream.

Weak Canadian Dollar

Somehow you suggest that Mrs. Notley’s poor policy choices or inaction to adapting to the changing energy market is the primary reason the Canadian dollar has weakened so much.  Are you out of your mind?  First, no Premier in Canada’s history has ever wielded so much power as to be able to dominate the direction of the Canadian dollar. And if Mrs. Notley was this powerful, should she get credit for the 4.5% gain in the strength of the loonie since the beginning of 2016.

But never mind my opinion.  The charts don’t lie…

image

Look at the correlation of the Canadian dollar and oil prices over the last fifteen years!  This comes from a great report, published by the University of British Columbia.

Some Good Points

Despite all of the above, you do offer some good points:

  • “On new oil and gas production capital expenditures implement a 12-month capital cost allowance acceleration.”
  • “On any new capital investment there will be a 36 month royalty holiday on any new production of oil and gas flows.“
  • “On your way home stop in Ottawa and tell finance minister Bill Morneau and PM Justin Trudeau that you need an additional $500 million in loans for Alberta. They were happy to give $4.2 Billion to foreigners during Justin’s first 60 days as PM and they didn’t give a damn about any Canadian workers, yours our anybody else’s.“

Just as you are, “… planning to keep Canadian taxpayers posted about [Rachel Notley’s] progress or lack of it,” I plan to call you out on any further outrageous statements or claims.

Andrew Johns