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A Response To: An Open Letter To Canadians From Oil And Gas Workers

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5 minute read

Update –  April 13th 2020: View Eavor Technologies CEO – John Redfern’s response here

A letter in response to this:

https://business.financialpost.com/opinion/an-open-letter-to-canadians-from-oil-and-gas-workers

 

 

Dear Albertan oil executives,

 

Canada’s oil and gas workers need your help. For decades, we have been asking you to diversify our economy and look for ways to avoid the boom and bust cycle. We are now in a perfect storm with oil prices falling and workers in isolation from a deadly virus. We need your leadership more than ever. 

 

Unfortunately for us, you’ve chosen the least imaginative path possible: stay the course. In your April 6th Op-Ed in the Financial Post, you argued that the fossil fuel industry needs federal support in order to maintain a skilled workforce. For a province that prides itself on hard work and innovation, don’t you think we can do better? 

 

The underlying assumption that you have made is that oil prices will return to a level that’s profitable for Alberta. But the historical trend doesn’t support your argument. 

 

When you look at the historical price of WTI, Alberta’s golden years came from a bubble. In 2008 analysts all over the province were claiming oil would climb to $200 and Alberta would become the crown jewel of Canada. That turned out to be wishful thinking.  You have dusted off that same playbook, claiming that oil will keep going up in price. The more likely scenario is that prices will return to their historical average. 

 

We cannot rely on high oil prices for our economic survival. 

(The picture was taken from https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/crude-oil But any 30-year graph will do. )

 

I agree with you that we need to ensure that we can maintain our workforce. It’s essential that Alberta has skilled people working in our province so that we can develop our resources. Canada as a whole needs to maintain our skilled labour force and keep our economy functioning so that we can rebound once the pandemic is over.


But putting those 200,000 people back to work into fossil fuels is a terrible idea.

 

So what do we do with hundreds of thousands of unemployed people and billions of dollars of idle equipment? 

 

My suggestion is we find markets outside of oil and gas that require very similar skill sets. We leverage our existing infrastructure, supply chains, and experience to build new industries here in Alberta.

I’ve got three examples. 

 

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy needs the same drilling rigs that the oil service industry has sitting idle. You can use your existing geologists, roughnecks, pipefitters, and welders to drill geothermal wells instead of oil wells. The end result is clean baseload power that can replace coal in this province and all over the world. The added benefit of developing geothermal is that we repurpose orphan wells into sources of heat and electricity. Companies like Eavor and DEEP have already started. 

Battery Manufacturing

As we move to cleaner energy sources, batteries will become more important to the sustainability of our economy. Batteries need a lot of material to be manufactured and companies like E3 Metals are developing extraction techniques to create a lithium industry here in Alberta. There are plenty of technicians, engineers, and fabricators in our energy community that are entirely capable of working on projects like this. 

Nuclear Power

While we are brainstorming ideas, let’s think big. If we are serious about providing clean, low carbon, environmentally friendly energy we have to look at nuclear. The folks at Terrestial Energy have designed a modular reactor that’s small, safe, and could absolutely be manufactured here in Alberta. I bet the mod yards would be jumping at the chance to have a backlog of work. 

 

I agree with you that we absolutely need to support our workforce. However, I don’t think keeping our oil industry limping along can be the full answer for our skilled and versatile workforce. Our talented population needs options.

 

Please stop looking in the rearview mirror and start building for the future.

 

Update – April 13th 2020: View Eavor Technologies CEO – John Redfern’s response here

This article was originally published on April 8, 2020.

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Downtown Business Spotlight: City Center Vacuum

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This week’s Business Spotlight is with City Center Vacuum Sales & Service. This business has been in operation for the past 27 years, in the same location at 5311 – 50th Avenue. They are known for carrying high-quality products, fair pricing, and excellent customer service.  Its no wonder they have people that travel from out of town just to shop with them! We sat down with James and Rose-Marie Sherman to learn more!

What is your business?

We are vacuum sales and service with janitorial products as well. Our products include portable vacs, built-in vacs, carpet shampoo, vacuum bags, belts, and service repairs.

When did your business open?

We opened in May of 1993 and have been in the same location ever since.

What makes your business unique?

It’s a go-to business, it’s a destination. We supply what people can’t find elsewhere and our products are of high quality, people come to us when they are tired of buying disposable products. Customers like our 1 on 1 service. They like the honesty and sincerity we offer when they come to us for repairs. James is awesome with customers over the phone as well, he can assess what’s going on by asking the customer to perform different tests they can do at home, and then go from there. A lot of times the customer ends up being able to fix it at home and we can help them through it. It saves them from having to make a trip down here or us having to go to them.

What are some products/services that you offer?

As mentioned, we do repairs on most models of vacuums, we carry items that are hard to find elsewhere, Canadian Tire or Walmart won’t carry all the accessories for vacuums that we carry. We have a whole wall in the store dedicated to bags, filters, belts, and shampooing parts. We also carry janitorial supplies for commercial use. Some of these products are also for household use too. If you need something to clean toilets or hard water stain removal, then we have that available.

Why did you choose Downtown Red Deer as the location for your business?

I ran another vacuum store downtown for several years before we opened this one. It was a partnership but when that ended, we moved to this location. This was a built-in vacuum store called Air Stream, so we just absorbed it and went from there.

What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?

I think it’s about retailers and family business owners that believe in building and supporting downtown. We’ve had a lot of bad representation and even gossip that’s not always true. What is happening in downtown is happening everywhere in Red Deer. We want to stay in downtown and help to support the other businesses in the area.

Finish this sentence: I love Downtown Red Deer because… The sense of community, family, local businesses, and its always in motion. It has taken care of me and my family for the past 27 years, it helped me raise 5 kids by providing me with a good location for a business. I find most of the downtown people support each other.

City Center Vacuum Sales & Service are truly experts in their field. Their highly knowledgeable team will make your shopping experience a pleasure and you will know you are getting exactly what you need for a great price.

 

Make sure to check out their website for everything in the store!

http://citycentervacuum.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/citycentervacuum

 

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Alberta

“…(Alberta’s) been booming so long that people think it’s our time to suffer…”

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Producer Notes:

What an emotional piece of video here shared by Heidi, and the links between layoffs and suicide in Alberta. The data is very clear that there’s a direct correlation and an increase in suicide rates and what’s going on in our world gasps History and dad’s especially fathers can be under tremendous pressure if they’re the solo income earner for their family. Not only are you at high risk of financial collapse if you lose your job, but the emotional toll that that can take and the impact on your mental health, confidence.  My heart goes out to families that are suffering…”

 

The following is a transcript of the above video interview with Heidi McKillop, Director, Producer “A Stranded Nation”.

“…  The interesting thing about when you see this issue in the news about oil and gas and that we don’t need it, for instance, or that it’s dirty oil and then it’s getting displaced to another jurisdiction around the world is quite literally the impact it has had directly in this province.  

I mean, you can see in downtown Calgary especially, but definitely in the rural communities as well, like Grande Prairie, you name it.  There has been an unbelievable shift in terms of what communities are up against with layoffs, and there’s a part of a documentary — I don’t know if you know this, but there was an article, and it was the suicide rates going up 30 percent in Alberta that year.  

I mean, it’s a debate of if that was directly related related to the recession or not, that was part of it.  But there was certainly a connection between economic downturn and mental health issues on the rise.  

And that article was actually about a little girl that had killed herself because her dad had lost his job.  And it was a really, really sad article, and I just said to myself, I was like, if people can’t have compassion about the fact that people are drastically getting affected in their family lives, then that’s probably not the messaging that we’re trying to reach to those people, because they are obviously showing a lack of compassion in that area.  And that, to me, is very sad to see because it happens quite often.  

Especially when I go home, you know, Alberta’s been booming for so many years and so many decades, people just think we’ve been booming for so long and long enough that it’s our time to suffer.  But that’s just not the way that we should start thinking.  It’s very dangerous.  Yeah, it makes me so angry actually.  Yeah, it’s pretty rough.  

Heidi McKillop, Director, Producer “A Stranded Nation”

https://twitter.com/heidimckillop?lang=en

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august, 2020

fri07augAll Daymon17WALK TO BREATHE from Calgary to Edmonton(All Day)

thu27aug(aug 27)12:00 amsun30(aug 30)11:59 pmHUGE Garage Sale for Crime Prevention12:00 am - 11:59 pm (30) PIDHERNEY CURLING CENTRE, RED DEER, AB, 4725 43 St, Red Deer, AB T4N 6Z3 Event Organized By: The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre

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