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Royal Bank CEO David McKay. (File Photo)

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

The chief executive officers of Canada’s largest bank and its largest pipeline company say the country needs an energy strategy that will better balance environmental and Indigenous goals with the need to develop its abundant oil and gas resources.

But Royal Bank CEO Dave McKay and Al Monaco, CEO of Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., had little in the way of specific advice for government during a Canadian Club event in Toronto.

Over a 45-minute discussion, the two agreed the world has a growing thirst for Canada’s energy production and the sector contributes mightily to the country’s gross domestic product.

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But they also noted it’s suffering from what they say is an undeserved negative environmental image and that international investors have lost interest in funding Canadian projects.

Mr. Monaco says Canada has among the best resources, capital markets, regulatory systems and technologies in the world but it needs an energy strategy to “put the pieces together.”

He says the government shouldn’t mix social-policy issues with its project regulatory reviews, a point made by critics of Ottawa’s proposed Bill C-69 to replace the National Energy Board, although he didn’t mention the bill specifically.

“We need to a have a strong energy policy in this country. We need to have a strong climate policy and we need to have Indigenous reconciliation. Those need to be at the policy or umbrella level,” Mr. Monaco said.

“Once those are set and we know the rules as investors, then we can say, ‘All right, I got the game plan, now here’s how I can build a project within that context.’”

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