N. Murray Edwards, the billionaire behind Mont-Sainte-Anne

Who is Norman Murray Edwards, the wealthy owner of Canadian Rockies Resorts (RCR), which has been criticized for its erratic management of Mont-Sainte-Anne? To his admirers, he is a genius investor like few in Canadian history. To his detractors, he is an oil tycoon adept at obtaining state aid and has a strong whiff of tax evasion around him. Position It portrays one of the world’s richest men, a Canadian oil baron and the company’s controlling shareholder, behind the biggest mining disaster in Canadian history.

The origin of wealth

Growing up in Regina, Saskatchewan, N. Murray Edwards played hockey and dreamed of becoming a politician. Decades passed, and the grown-up kid never left the field or politics: today he is the co-owner of the Calgary Flames, and he has always carefully guarded his relationship with the secrets of power.

Humility marks the beginning of someone climbing the ladder of fortune to be part of the 0.00001%. N. Murray Edwards, son of an accountant and teacher, turns 1,053 todaye He is included in Forbes’ list of the richest people in the world.

As a teenager, he worked as a hockey referee. After graduation, he funded part of his university as a summer camp scavenger. “This work gave him a strong motivation to succeed in his education,” says a biography dedicated to him by the Horatio Alger Association, an NPO dedicated to preserving faith in the American Dream.

During his law studies, Edwards discovered a strong inclination for business. When his friend was diagnosed with brain cancer, N. Murray Edwards made a deathbed promise to him to always follow his passions. Already a partner, at age 28, in a Calgary law firm, he left everything to invest.

The 63-year-old man made his fortune in oil and gas in Western Canada. In 1988, he invested $100,000 in Canadian Natural Resources (CNR), now a major company sitting on at least 7.5 billion barrels of oil from the tar sands and whose forks stretch across the United States from British Columbia to Manitoba. , the coast of Africa and the North Sea.

N. Murray Edwards remains the chairman and chief executive officer of CNR to this day and is worth US$2.6 billion or the GDP of Lesotho in 2021 according to Forbes.

Mount Polley disaster

His interests are as diverse as his investments. Since 1989, he has chaired the board of directors of Ensign, one of the world’s largest oilfield service providers with operations on three continents. He also serves as the chairman of the board of directors of Magellan Aerospace, which is engaged in the production of CRV7 missiles, which is considered the flagship of the Canadian military industry.

N. Murray Edwards was also the controlling shareholder of Imperial Metals when a dam burst near the Mount Polley gold-copper mine in British Columbia on August 4, 2014, releasing approximately 25 million cubic meters of mine tailings into three adjacent lakes.

The disaster, considered the worst in Canadian history, has gone unpunished to this day. Imperial Metals received no fines or penalties for the disaster. Eight years later, only three engineers faced justice, ordered to pay a total of $225,000 for negligence.

N. Murray Edwards has been a contributor to the BC Liberal coffers since 2005. A year before the collapse, the businessman raised nearly a million dollars to replenish the election fund of Christy Clark, who became the Premier of British Columbia during the natural disaster. To date, it owns 44.8% of Imperial Metals.

State aid

In addition to his connections to the upper echelons of power, some criticize N. Murray Edwards for seeking government assistance despite his wealth. For example, the Calgary Flames want a new amphitheater but refuse to build it without significant funding from the City, a controversial saga that has dragged on for years.

Recently, in 2020, N. Murray Edwards received a symbolic salary of one dollar for his role at Canadian Natural Resources – more than 13.5 million in total, in addition to bonuses and all compensation. That amount ranked him 19th, according to the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives.e ranked among the 100 highest paid business leaders in the country.

That same year, the CNR received an emergency wage subsidy imposed by Ottawa to help companies keep their workforce employed despite the pandemic. This year, RCR also proposed to the Quebec government to invest $100 million in Mont-Sainte-Anne – with the state paying half of that amount.

N. Murray Edwards also came under fire for moving to London in 2016, which coincided with tax increases in Alberta and Ottawa.

Despite the director’s denials, some see it as a tax evasion maneuver. In 2020, N. Murray Edwards’ primary residence was registered this time in St. Moritz, Switzerland – a country notorious for taxing large fortunes.

Profit and skiing

N. Murray Edwards acquired RCR in 2001. A bad season and bad finances forced this company, a real ski empire, into bankruptcy. Overnight, the transaction elevated the oil magnate to one of North America’s largest ski resort operators, with assets spanning eight mountains, including Stoneham and Mont-Sainte-Anne.

Several new chairlifts were launched under N. Murray Edwards, including the Panorama Express at Mont-Sainte-Anne in 2014 and the Eclipse at Stoneham in 2017. But during that time, the voices said the return was slow but sure. prioritizing customer service. RCR’s eccentric founder, the first share and mountain guide Charlie Locke, trusted the magazine Ski Canada After RCR was taken over by N. Murray Edwards, the Lake Louise resort was “purely and simply Business and “customer service was not up to par.” »

Criticism echoes 12 years later, fueled by discontent over the failings of Mont-Sainte-Anne, a jewel that many say has lost its luster due to the neglect of its current owner.

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