Rio Tinto’s Ivan Vella on why Canada needs to get its act together on regulation — fast – by Kevin Carmichael (Prince George Post – April 2023)

Kevin Carmichael’s Conversations: New urgency is about climate change, not about maximizing profit for shareholders

Check your priors, economists say. Facts change. You’re asking for trouble if you assume the “laws” John Maynard Keynes set out in the 1930s, and the ones Milton Friedman devised in the 1970s, still apply today. It’s a good rule for writing, too. “We’ve got to go fast,” said Ivan Vella, who runs Rio Tinto Ltd.’s aluminum business out of Montreal. “I feel it every day when I get up. There’s a huge amount of pressure on us.”

We’d been talking about growth, one of Vella’s three primary objectives. That dialogue — as it tends to when you ask an executive about the obstacles to growing a business in Canada — had arrived at a critique of the country’s disinterest in doing anything about the thicket of federal, provincial and local regulation that keeps big things from getting done.

“One more point,” Vella said after listing tax credits (a “well-worn path but it works”), lower corporate taxes (“ultimately may help maintain the competitiveness of Canada and Canadian industry”) and direct grants (“great tool,” see Rio Tinto’s titanium operation in Sorel, Que.) as policy levers that governments could pull to ensure Canada wins a place in the historic shift to green energy.

“The other thing they can do is address the barriers, the things that slow us down in terms of progress,” he said.

For the rest of this article: