It's not just arguments over Keystone XL and the tar sands that are holding Canada's global energy reputation back — it's provincialism.
Gathering at CNBC's EnergyFuture brainstorm in Toronto on Wednesday, leaders in Canada's energy sector sent a renewed call for a unified national energy policy.
"For Canada to compete in the past, we had a natural market next door," Shell Canada's country chair and president Lorraine Mitchelmore told attendees. "For Canada to compete in the future, we have to become global, and therefore we have to become one country. To become a global player, you need a framework in which to do that."
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Previous attempts at a national policy have failed due to the vastly different challenges and opportunities Canada's provinces face.
"The challenge is that Canada, very much like Europe, is a federation," Mitchelmore said. "It's a federation of provinces that actually have jurisdiction over natural resources. It's a real challenge."
Bob Oliver, CEO of Pollution Probe, challenged the Canadian industry to a grand "shot to the moon", built around this single national strategy.
"Regional prosperity builds right across the country when we commit to doing things together," he told the room. "That's basically it. We can achieve more as a unified collection of regions than we can as a bunch of regions pulling in their own directions."
Dr Eva Busza, VP knowledge and research at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, called for "the creation of an innovation ecosystem around services, efficiency and technology in the energy sector."
At the core of this ecosystem would be an innovation fund, utilising profits from fossil fuels to inject into renewable technologies.