It is kind of a longer story line. You just look at investment levels and the Canadian economy, let's say in the early 2010s when oil prices were riding near $100 a barrel and there were a lot of capital inflows into the Canadian economy really concentrated in the energy sector. Then suddenly there is a global energy price shock and there was a huge deceleration in energy sector investment, so you're coming off some pretty steep highs there in the early 2010s to a point where there was a massive contraction.
Over the last four or five years or so, it has been a real game to recover those lost investment flows, and it's been very challenging. In the energy sector any people you would invite to this committee who would have a commentary about what's going on in western Canada would suggest that it's been very difficult to regain those lost flows and just get back to level.
In the non-energy sector, there has been a little bit more encouraging momentum—outside the energy sector, in particular in services-based economies, service companies in Canada investing in high tech and in productivity-enhancing machinery and equipment, and then the factory sector, also where we've seen encouraging signs of growth over the last couple of years and in the last couple of quarters.
That said, it hasn't been off-the-charts record growth either, so anything governments can do—and this government has put in place incentives like it put last fall to accelerate capital writeoffs—to encourage business investment, encourage foreign direct inflows, is hugely important.
That's our advice to the government. That's where the government's policy approach is.