The past few years have been nothing if not interesting for companies such as CMC who are on the climate change mitigation/innovation frontier.
With the advent of $40/barrel oil prices a year ago and recent changes on the political landscape in the province of Alberta, beginning with the election of the New Democratic Party (NDP) government, the first non-conservative government in 44 years, followed more recently by the election of a majority Liberal federal government in Canada, the winds of change are definitely blowing.
Dynamic landscape requires change
Over the last year, CMC has developed and re-developed strategies in response to the dynamic political landscape, through consultation processes leading to new climate plans for Alberta and positive-sounding indications for re-engagement from the federal level. Promising indications, however, do not pay bills. With business and governments facing uncertainty there has been a reluctance to invest in novel initiatives and directions. There will eventually be an upswing in the economy and until then CMC is prepared to hunker down for a long wait while all parties make requisite policy and budgetary choices. At the same time, we are aware that we need to be cautious to ensure CMC is still in the game when the promised major policy shifts are implemented.
While remaining highly engaged, CMC has refocused efforts on our “core business” – the development and support of the solutions-focused institutes. This required making hard decisions to eliminate all non-core-related programs and substantially downsizing our head office staff. The objective is to maintain a close focus on existing core institutes, the Containment and Monitoring Institute and the Carbon Capture and Conversion Institute, building them as rapidly as possible to be strong and self-sustaining. While we will no longer build out our programs area, we remain committed to ongoing projects and our collaborative partners.
New institutes considered
In parallel with that shift we are evaluating critical challenge areas for future institutes. Our board has challenged the management team to identify a portfolio of five institutes to establish across the country, including the first two we have under way now.
As CMC reorients itself to our new direction and smaller office, I would like to thank the entire CMC team for their hard work and support. I especially want to recognize the group of staff who are leaving CMC. The large-scale political and economic changes Alberta and Canada have seen in the last year required much focus and effort as we worked to negotiate the new landscape. Despite ongoing uncertainty, CMC staff continually ramped up efforts to build CMC’s business. Although we are saying goodbye to part of our team, their contributions to CMC will be appreciated as contributing to our future achievements.