Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Horgan's hypocrisy, Weaver's green energy fantasy hurt all Canadians

By Gwyn Morgan
Contributor: Troy Media
Published: Fort Nelson News


          The political discourse surrounding Canada's oil industry has morphed into a combination of schizophrenia, hypocrisy and fantasy.
       This debilitating countrywide phenomenon is clearly exemplified at both the federal and provincial levels. But it's the recent actions of B.C. Premier John Horgan and his puppet master, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, that earn my nomination for special recognition.
       Horgan wins the political schizophrenia award for filing a court case that would allow the province to stop the export of oil from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, while simultaneously filing a separate court case aimed at preventing Alberta from reducing the amount of oil shipped through the existing line.
      Alberta Premier Rachel Notley summarized his behaviour succinctly by stating, "They want our oil, but they don't want our oil."
     Then, just two days after the federal government announced its takeover of the project to counter Horgan's vow to "use every tool in the toolbox" to stop the project, B.C. Attorney General David Eby stated that the province is still entitled to $1 billion former premier Christy Clark negotiated in return for supporting the pipeline.
      Horgan also take top honours for the political hypocrisy award. Recently, in response to Vancouver's gasoline prices reaching $1.61 a litre, the highest in North America, he called for "the federal government to get into the game... and protect consumers." The reality is that more than 33 cents of that price is made up of municipal and provincial taxes, including the first of four annual increases to the province's carbon tax that kicked in just days before Horgan's call for federal action.
       Weaver also qualifies for both awards for his about face on BC Hydro's massive Site C hydroelectric project. In 2009, Weaver urged then B.C. premier Gordon Campbell to move ahead with the zero-emissions project, stating, "I cannot see what is stopping Site C."
       Fast forward eight years to 2017 when, after campaigning to shut down Site C construction, Weaver called for the resignation of B.C. Energy Minister Michelle Mungall in response to the government's decision not to cancel the partially built project.
      Weaver's rationale for opposing Site C - that wind and solar power are "better and cheaper" - also makes him eminently qualified for the political fantasy award.
      The reality is that despite the hundreds of billions of dollars poured into in windmills and solar panels, they provide just 1.5 per cent of global electricity. And since the wind doesn't always blow and solar panels produce zero energy during Canada's long winter nights when the power is most needed, those costly wind and power facilities must be fully backed by reliable fossil-fuelled power plants.
     Thus, electricity consumers pay for costly wind and solar, and then pay again to build and operate standby plants. Ontario is the poster child for this lamentable outcome. Power rates that were once among the lowest in North America are now the very highest. No wonder the Ontario election is seeing an angry backlash after out-of-work residents across the province's heartland contemplate rusting, weed-infested factory sites that had long been the economic mainstays of their communities.
   Given that Weaver opposed zero-emissions hydro power due to his delusions about wind and solar, it's not surprising that the prospect of more crude oil flowing into B.C. from the Trans Mountain expansion is ample cause for declaration of political war.
   The battle has been zealously joined by his many local ground troops and international non-governmental organization professional protesters who share his fantasy that the end of fossil fuel era in nigh. Rallying his troops following announcement of the federal takeover of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, he stated, "What about ... wind farms or solar farms? Why is the government picking a company in the last century to double down on yesterday's economy?"
    But believing in something doesn't make it true. It's time for realty check. What's the real-world outlook for crude oil demand?
    Fossil fuels supply more than 80 percent of global energy. And the largest portion of that is crude oil. World oil demand is expected to grow by 1.2 million barrels per day in 2018, more than twice the capacity of the Trans Mountain expansion.
The median of authoritative forecasts sees oil demand growing from the current 98 million barrels a day to at least 110 million by 2030. The largest contribution to that growth is expected to come from the United States, aided, ironically, by Canadian companies that have no choice but to send both their technical expertise and drilling money south to where the oil can be sold.
      The growth in world oil demand may seem surprising, given reports that electric vehicles are poised to displace internal combustion engines. There are around two million electric vehicles worldwide. The most bullish forecast I could find would see that grow to 300 million by 2040. That forecast comes with an acknowledgement that it would require the expenditure of trillions of dollars to rebuild global electricity generation and distribution, a highly dubious prospect. But even if this extreme case happened, it wouldn't offset the expected 800 million internal combustion engines expected to be added in the developing world, led by China and India.
     Despite having the third largest oil reserves in the world, Canada produces less than four per cent of global crude supplies. And in contrast to the hysterical rhetoric from anti-oil sands zealots, Alberta's oil sands produce a minuscule 0.15 per cent of global carbon emissions.
     The reality is that the Canadian oil industry's environmental and human rights record is vastly superior to that of the North African, South American and the Middle Eastern producers. And those producers benefit from our inability to access world markets.
     Schizophrenia, hypocrisy and fantasy have formed a debilitating cocktail. We're sacrificing the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, along with the economic prosperity and investor reputation of our nation.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

The Saga of the Three Pipelines test of Ottawa's relevance

By: Gwyn Morgan
Published: Fort Nelson Newspaper


            Canada is endowed with the third largest oil reserves in the world but lack of access to world markets means our oil is sold far below world prices. Each day, this captive market discount hands a $40-million gift to Americans. Adding insult to injury, the discount also drives tens of billions of dollars in Canadian investments to American oilfields.
        Now, after seven years and billions of dollars spent by proponents of three oil export pipelines, hope for revival of Canada's oil industry has come down to one extremely troubled project.
How could this have happened?
        The answer lies in politically-motivated decisions that progressively narrowed those three proposals to what was always the most fraught project. Here is a precis of what I'll call The Saga of the Three Pipelines.
         Enbridge filed regulatory applications for the Northern Gateway pipeline to the north Pacific port of Kitimat in 2010. The cabinet of Stephen Harper's Conservative federal government approved the project in 2014, after a thorough and intense review by the National Energy Board (NEB).
         However, in September 2016, less than a year after taking office, Prime minister Justin Trudeau cancelled the project, stating: "The Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline." It mattered not that the "Great Bear Rainforest" hadn't even been designated during the regulatory process.
        Some First Nation bands were pleased, but not those most affected by the loss of employment and financial benefits. Just weeks ago, the Lax Kw'alaams, representing nine First Nations tribes, filed a lawsuit claiming that the Great Bear Rainforest prohibition against development on their traditional lands shouldn't have been implemented without their consent.
        The tragic irony is that Northern Gateway could have been built by 2019. And, unlike overheated Vancouver, it would have created jobs and economic benefits in a part of the province that is suffering economic despair.
        In 2014, TransCanada filed regulatory applications for the Energy East project to move Canadian oil to refineries in Montreal and New Brunswick, while providing vital access to Atlantic tidewater. The project would have replaced the hundreds of foreign-flagged oil tankers that sail up the St.Lawrence each year carrying half a million barrels per day to Montreal. Moreover, Energy East would use existing pipelines formerly carrying natural gas.
       The project had all the hallmarks of a win-win nation builder.
       But, in the face of strident opposition from politically influential Quebec, the Trudeau government imposed an "upstream emissions test" on Energy East, blatantly ignoring the emissions emanating from foreign oil suppliers and those hundreds of tankers carrying their oil. The government then announced a restart of the entire NEB regulatory hearing process with newly-appointed board members.
       Realizing that the Quebec votes were more important to the government than their project, TransCanada abandoned it after spending $1 billion.
       The Trudeau government's cynical and politically-motivated elimination of Northern Gateway and Energy East left the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion as the lone route to tidewater.
       It should have been perfectly clear that the project would face vastly more strident opposition than the other two projects. Trudeau provided justification for that opposition during the federal election campaign of 2015, attacking the NEB as lacking "public trust." The very same NEB that's respected worldwide for its technical expertise and unbiased professionalism. And the NEB that had served both Liberal and Conservative governments with distinction for decades.
        Trudeau's campaign rhetoric was a calculated attack on Harper and his Conservatives, but it also wreaked grievous damage to public confidence in the regulatory process. Now Trans Mountain opponents, including angry protesters chaining themselves to construction sites, use the prime minister's words to support their claims that NEB approval of the project was flawed. The City of Burnaby has even stated it will not fund the RCMP's cost of protecting construction crews.
       Finally, after investing $1 billion, Kinder Morgan's responsibility to shareholders left the company no choice but to suspend construction and set a firm deadline for project cancellation unless the conditions for completion are in place.
      Over the nine months since the Green Party-controlled NDP government of B.C. vowed to use "all the tools in the toolbox" to stop the Trans Mountain expansion, the prime minister and members of his cabinet have repeatedly stated the project will be built. But no action was taken to enforce federal jurisdiction to make that happen.
      Now, for Trudeau, the oil industry and the country, the saga of the three pipelines has exploded into a national crisis. The stakes are no longer just crucial route to tidewater, but also a test of Ottawa's constitutional jurisdiction over nationally important projects, a destructive breakdown in relations between two provinces and very possibly a national unity crisis.
     Having made the unfathomable decision to fly away as the crisis escalated, the PM decided to return to Ottawa. He arrived with the fanfare of a knight arriving to save the day but it was already clear that there was no chance of changing B.C.'s vowed opposition.
     In reality, it was B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, not Premier John Horgan, who should have been invited to the meeting with Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley since the very survival of B.C.'s NDP government is in Weaver's hands.
      Now we await announcement of what actions the Trudeau government will take to save Trans Mountain. Taxpayers should hang onto their wallets, as both the federal and Alberta governments have signalled funding of the $7.4 billion project is an option. That would be lamentable but unsurprising chapter in a saga wherein politics killed the first two pipelines, only to have their killers force taxpayers to pay for their mistakes by funding the third.
        Gwyn Morgan is a retired Canadian business leader who has been a director of five global corporations. 

Quotable Quote - "It's very clear that Mr. [John] Horgan, who I think is one of the worst politicans that we have seen in Canada in decades, appeals to populism in a way that is not based on fact," Naheed Nenshi Mayor of Calgary

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

The Peculiar Case of Fort Nelson

Published: Fort Nelson Newspaper



Streeper gets his message out across the national airwaves and tells Canada what lobby groups are doing to this community

      The Premier of Saskatchewan, Scott Moe, when asked if he would turn off the spigot to stop its fuel reaching British Columbia said: "If Alberta is going to turn the taps off the next logical place to come for product is Saskatchewan. This pipeline should be built, it's a federal government decision. Our Nation was built on similar projects, which have strengthened and built Canada. If the province of BC can stop this project the question is: Do we still have a nation?'
      
     Roy Green, the popular radio host with his own show on Corus Radio Network and syndicated by Global News and described by The Hill newspaper as 'required listening for federal politicians', interviewed Mayor Bill Streeper and Vivian Krause, a researcher who has been exploring the distribution of US funding to First Nations and lobby groups. Krause was in Fort Nelson last week.
     The subject was dire: "Not a rig drilling, not a truck hauling, very little gas going out, houses owned by banks, the wage earner leaving their families to take up jobs in all parts of Canada. What kind of life is that?" Streeper asked. 
     "The Northern Rockies Municipality has reduced its budget for two years because people can't afford to pay the taxes and is now going to have to reduce services. Facilities will be open maybe six days a week at the Rec Centre. It's the worst I've seen in my 41 years here,"
      He said he would like to ask Premier John Horgan and BC Green Party MLA, Andrew Weaver, if they would give up using all petroleum products?"
      Streeper recalled a Site C protest when all the canoes on the Peace were made of plastic. Even solar panels are made of petroleum based material.
     Why are they coming down on Kinder Morgan?
      Streeper pointed out that 30 miles south of the BC/US border at a place called Cherry Point there is a refinery that produces 235,000 barrels a day of oil. That oil comes from Valdez Alaska down the West Coast. There's not one fisherman who has seen any of this oil leaking down Vancouver Island and it's been going on since 1971.
      "Something has to be done to wake up the people of British Columbia," to what is happening.
      Vivian Krause described her visit to Fort Nelson where her uncle, Bob Krause, lived. "It's a wonderful community up here, wide blue skies and the people are so friendly. It's surrounded by prosperous First Nations, we visited Prophet River with their gorgeous school, the people are wonderful. There's a place for everyone."
       Krause said what we're missing is the M-word monopoly. Building a pipeline is not just a construction project it's a real relationship, one of the most valuable in the world between the US and Canada.
       Politicians, starting with the prime minister, need to talk about our neighbours to the south having Canada over a barrel." With this arrangement we are losing $43 million per day."
       Prime minister Justin Trudeau and premiers Horgan and Notley have all expressed themselves as opposing pipelines, Krause said.
             Green asked Streeper what had happened to the promise to reopen the forest industry here. "No job has been created, no trees cut down." 
        Industrial real estate vacancy in the Northern Rockies is 60 to 62%. A very nice three bedroom home can be purchased for hundred thousand dollars.
          In the 1980s when the population was 6,000 the municipality was planning to expand to 10,000 and then 15,000. When the fracking was shut down expansion plans fizzled.
        This applies to BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan oil patches, but it is worse here because the gas in the huge Horn River, Liard and Cordova is 'dry gas'. Other communities have been able to develop gas with a high level of condensate, but they aren't back up to their 2006 levels because there is no outlet for LNG offshore and the US has its own supply of LNG that replaced conventional Canadian gas that was supplied to the US previously.
       Streeper said the gas fields surrounding Fort Nelson are world class and can sustain extraction levels for many, many years of supply for liquefied natural gas and they were to have been developed to supply the LNG industry. Pipelines are much safer than rail car shipments, he added, and don't clog the railway's infrastructure.
      Krause said the issue is one of leadership. Politicians are not about the environment, they know that the US has Canada over a barrel. They also know that groups such as the Dogwood Initiative BC, funded by Tides Canada and US based industry have full-time staff in ridings and that these politicians are helped to get elected by it.
      Krause revealed that the Executive Director of Digital Communications, Karl Hardin, has worked for the Dogwood Initiative for five years form  2010-2016 and now works for the Horgan NDP government. A recent job application posted on the Dogwood Initiate website is for a summer job for a canvasser, "Volunteer recruitment and assisting Dogwood's teams as they mobilize and organize to hold our governments to account and assist Dogwood's Youth Empowerment Program. It pays $15 per hour and is a Canada Summer Jobs Position. They work is to help its organizing network stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project as well as help us strengthen the public call for a stronger, more accountable and transparent democracy.
     Krause said politicians elected at the municipal level benefit from this organization,such as the Get the Vote Out."
The Dogwood Initiative BC was formed in 1991. They got the provincial government to cut back and redistribute 10% of MacMillan Bloedel's logging tenures that were distributed to First Nations and local communities and used the softwood dispute to reallocate 20% of the logging tenures across BC. Commencing in 2001, they took on LNG.
     Dogwood worker with activists and First Nations in Telkwa, Cache Creek, Smithers, Princeton, Fernie, Iskut, Dease Lake, and throughout the Peace Region, and were able to shut down commercial coal bed methane everywhere in B.C. Next they were successful in getting the Northern Gateway Project cancelled and a tanker traffic ban down the west coast of Canada.
     Federally, she mentioned one of Justin Trudeau's senior staff, Gerald Butts who was involved with charities that are approved by Revenue Canada, but all they seem to do is pass money forward to other organizations intent upon the opposing Canada's energy industry.
     During Justin Trudeau's initial time as Liberal party leader, Butts advised on such decisions and issues as the legalizing of marijuana, the expulsion of the entire Liberal senate caucus, and Trudeau's position on the Northern Gateway pipeline.
     In 2008, Butts took over World Wildlife Federation Canada (WWF), a non-profit organization committed to conservation and sustainable development. During his time there, he said, "100 per cent sustainable, renewable energy is possible and economical by 2050 if we start the transition today."
     For many years Vivian Krause has tracked money transfers from Tides USA, to Tides Canada to support for lobby groups against Canada's oil industry. She calls it the 'demarketing' of Canadian industries.
    Political leadership is at fault, Krause called upon Andrew Sheer, leader of the opposition, to get involved.
    Both Mayor Bill Streeper and Vivian Krause were speaking from Fort Nelson to the Montreal-based talk show host in a broadcast syndicated across Canada by Global television.
    When asked by Green what he saw as  a future for Fort Nelson if the LNG didn't go ahead Streeper said it was a stop-over for those travelling to Alaska.
     The full interview with Mayor Streeper and Vivian Krause can be heard on the NRRM website.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

The Doodlebugs

By: Sharon Stevens
Published: Recorder
Written: 1995

A doodlebugger? What is a doodlebug and where did that name come from? A definitive answer was what I was searching for. But a variety of responses is what I found...

A doodlebug is a southern bug that digs a hole in the ground and stacks the dirt – that's what a doodlebug does is drill a hole and put charges in it and geologists always figured we were never scientific we were just doodlers.
Cecil and Mary Watson

As far as I can recall there used to be a bug that digs a hole in the ground – it would make these little holes and it goes down and kicks up the dirt, and it was called a doodlebug – don't know where or when it started. But when we were here and this idea came up, somebody said, well geophysical people are always digging holes in the ground – Percy Smith ran a seismic service company – he's the one who patented the name Doodlebug with the caricature of a bug.
Ted and Lola Rosza

The word doodlebug came from west Texas in the early teens and twenties from water well witchers who would go out with a willow stick and claimed that they could find the spot to drill for underground water wells – because their technology was you might say unscientific, the word Doodlebug was coined... which referred to the witchery they were conducting. When seismic work started in 1932 and gradually refined into the science of geophysics, others in the industry thought this was a mysterious science, so seismic people or geophysicists were labelled Doodlebugs or Doodlebuggers.
Hal Godwin

Doodlebug is a little insect that never settles in anyone place, he just picks up his home and moves off and lives elsewhere for a little while, and when he's tired of that he picks up and moves on again.
Gordie and Evelyn Cairns

And the research indicated...

Doodlebug is a U.S. tiger-beetle, or the larvae of this or various other insects.
Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition Vol. IV

Doodlebug is a divining rod.
American Heritage
Dictionary End edition

A doodlebug is anyone of various unscientific devices with which it is claimed minerals and oil deposits can be located (1924). A doodlebug is a new device in prospecting which seemed to employ radar in locating likely ground (1948).
Dictionary of Changes in Meaning

Rudimentary geology was often combined with bits of folklore and luck to lead the doodlebugger to oil deposits. Using a simple divining rod, a crotched stick like that used in "witching" for water, he walked along dry creeks, across bald prairie and to the tops of hills and wherever else his nose and instinct led him. The more sophisticated doodlebugger fastened a rubber sack full of fresh crude oil to his hazel stick, which he had cut under a full moon, and awaited the telltale moment when the tip would suddenly dip in the direction of oil.
History of Canada's Oil and Gas Industry - Ed Gould

and then...

If you know what doodlebugging is, it doesn't need explaining; and, if you don't know what it is, it can't be explained. I'm glad I know what it is.
Jane Richardson

The story of the Doodlebugs can be focused on family life; the men, their wives and children who travelled from town to town following the crew. It is a story of the contrast and similarities of men's work and women's work as their roles blended into a family unit. The story is laced with the humor and strength of lifelong friendships that developed during the nomadic beginnings of doodlebuggers. Celebrations of the season, birthday parties, and party games helped the community flourish amid the struggles of isolation and loneliness. The story is full of contrasts...constant travel yet with predictable monotony; cramped trailer living inside while the prairie stretched endlessly outside; intense friendships that grew quickly; and making due with what you had. In the end the story is about memories, flipping through photo albums and watching home movies. It is about nostalgia and reminiscing, the good times and the hard times. It is about hearing the melting snow on the road and feeling like its time to move again – even thirty years later.

Every year at Christmas I would hear the stories. The stories of living in a trailer- a little trailer 8' x 24' with no bathroom. There were only two of us kids then. The stories of moving and packing up and moving again, as often as seven times in one year. The stories of friendship and fun and frugality. "You did what you had to do". This was the life of a doodlebugger.

My parents met in Gravelbourg, Sask. in 1954. My father was working with a seismic crew and as usual, fellas from the crew often met up with the gals from the nearby town. And so would begin the romance. And shortly after, the marriage, the traveling and the babies. This was seismic work. This was the life of a doodlebugger.

Some couples would try to find accommodations in each town. Anything from sleeping in a cold front porch to an unused theatre. But most couples opted for trailers. "Right from the beginning, when we got married we knew we would live in a trailer, that way the children would have the same bed every night".

In Alberta during the 1950's and into the early 60's, seismic crews crisscrossed the province from job site to job site in exploration of oil. This type of work still goes on today but not in the unusual lifestyle that became known as doodlebugging. During these two decades men met and married women from these small towns launching their lives together in a tiny trailer – travelling and moving as many as 70 times in 12 years – experiencing the life of a Doodlebug... .

An aspect of doodlebug life not often told is that of the women and their role and contribution to the industry not to mention to their families. Young women were romanced and then settled into a commitment of adventure and a life of constant movement. These women were outstandingly independent in an era before feminism was considered an ideological tool to identify and further women's rights. For the men there was definitely more to the doodlebug lifestyle than just the technical work they were involved in. Another untold side of the doodlebug life shows the feminine side of the men and how much their families meant to them. They were very involved in the early upbringing of their children while they were on-the-road together. The men were contributors to the family's wellbeing on an emotional as well as physical level acting as breadwinners and disciplinarians. In the end the true story of doodlebugging is best told as seen through the eyes of the families. The following are a number of stories told by members of doodlebug families and reflections by individuals who experienced the doodlebug life:

Stories


Interview with Warner and Joy Loven, May 1, 1994 – 40 moves in nine years with three children. Joy tells the story of Maureen's birth:

I was very pregnant when we were in Daysland, Ab., in fact I was due to have the baby any minute. But the crew was scheduled to leave so the town Doctor tried to induce labour so I could give birth before the crew left. The induction didn't work. I had to make a decision ... stay in Daysland by myself and wait to have the baby and join up with the crew later. Or leave with the crew and risk having the baby on the road. I decided to leave with the crew. The Mayor gave me a list of all the doctors and hospitals and we set off. Well we made it. We reached Rock Glen in one piece, Maureen was born shortly after.

Big decisions like that had to be made real quick. The women supported each other and most times the townspeople were helpful and receptive. The wives had to look after a lot, especially when the men went up north in the winter. We used to keep our curtains open so we could see into each other's trailer to make sure everything was okay. Sometimes the oil line would freeze up and we would have to go outside in a blizzard and try to thaw it out. That often meant crawling under the trailer, pregnant or not.

Washing clothes was always a big chore. Just finding water was sometimes tough. We would have to haul water in buckets if there was no water hookup for the trailer. And with so many kids and in such tiny trailers in such dusty, muddy trailer courts it seemed we were always washing something ... floors or faces. I was the first to get a wringer washer. it was always in the way, no room to put it, just stuck in the middle of a tiny kitchen. The trailer was 24' long and 8' wide. But having that washer was great, better than washing diapers by hand or using the wash houses in the trailer courts.

Interview with Stan and Susanne Stevens May 5, 1994 – 70 moves in 12 years with four children. Susanne tells the story of moving day:

Sometimes we would get a whole weeks notice that the crew was heading out to a new town, you got to finish your laundry, say goodbye to the people you got to know. But most times it would be a day or sometimes they would come home early and we would leave that afternoon.

Moving day was hectic. Kids would have to stay out of the way while the water tank and the oil tank were unhooked and loaded into the company truck. Everything inside the trailer had to be secured, tied down, pillows stuffed into cupboards to stop dishes from falling out, you piled things up as you backed out the door, I know one woman whose washing machine flew through the side of the trailer when the truck went off the road. There was lots of unnecessary junk, or so my husband used to think. I had a step made out of an old barn door, I needed that step to get into the trailer, but it was big and cumbersome and always hard to load.

Then we would set out. Dad pulling the trailer in a company truck and I would drive behind with the kids. We didn't dare stop. I had to just follow along because often times I didn't know where we were going. I might know the town we were going to but not the route. So I would have to be alert and keep an eye on that vehicle ahead, while I breast fed, changed diapers, poured koolaid, and sang songs to amuse the kids. You sure couldn't drive like that today.

We seemed to always move right at Christmas, either Christmas Eve or Christmas afternoon, plus it was a sad time of year because the fellows would be leaving to go up north on New Year's Day.

But I miss it, you know even 30 years later. Every spring I get to feeling like we should pack up and move. I feel nostalgic at the sound car tires make on the road when the snow starts to melt and turn to slush.

Reflections of Doodlebug Life
Excerpted from "Reflections" 50th Anniversary of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists

In our travels and moves of 47 times in 39 years, we made many wonderful friends and experienced some different ways of life. Thinking back and comparing the way of life for drifters back then and now, there is a feeling that life was pretty rough at times. Fortunately, we didn't know any better then, and thought at the time that we were the privileged. To this day we still hear from so any friends from all our journeys. Wouldn't have missed it for anything.
Zola Bartel

I had learned what doodlebugging was. We had enough dime store pottery to serve 4 people, 3 pots, 2 frying pans and some dynamite boxes for extra seats. Most of the towns we moved to didn't have a trailer park, so we parked any place we could hook up to electricity and water. That is the life we lived. If you know what doodlebugging is, it doesn't need explaining; and, if you don't know what it is, it can't be explained. I'm glad I know what it is.
Jane Richardson

First thing the wives do after getting located is to rush around to see what the grocery store had to offer. Life settles down, or so it seems. Suddenly, it is whispered around – it's rumored – that we are going to move. The women begin to lament – they have just stocked up on groceries, or someone has been silly enough to have done some extensive housecleaning. Life isn't too monotonous and even has an element of adventure in it. The crew is like a family - our joys and sorrows are shared, and we make an effort to get along together.
Jean Heinrichs

After acquiring a few things, our car began to look like the Joads. The one thing we always had words about was the ironing board. We could have been driving an 18 wheeler and that thing wouldn't have fit. I have driven many miles with my neck wedged between the legs of an ironing board.
Evelm F. Reeves

The next move was to Sylvan Lake not far from where my life as a wife of a doodlebugger started. Here we stayed for one and a half years, we were there so long that we almost sprouted roots. By this time we were beginning to give some thoughts to setting up permanent home somewhere. After years of doodlebugging our first dream house was purchased in Calgary. It had 900 sq. ft., interest rate 4%, monthly payment of $40., total price $6,000.
Venna Frasher

Each of us who spent those years as doodlebuggers has his own memories. Mine are unique to me and every time I've told a tale, somebody topped me. I wouldn't take a million dollars for those years, but it would take more than that to get me to do it again.
Anne Frank

I was struck over and over by the sense of community that exist between doodlebug families – even decades after their way of life has ended. Their camaraderie and dependence on each other serves as an ideal model of human beings living and working together. I was amazed at the resourcefulness and commitment it took to live this life – not just by the men who were employed, but the entire family who supported them day in day out, hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away from friends and relatives. I found myself caught up in the romance of constant travelling – even with its trauma, loneliness and hardship because these people came out with adventure under their belts and stories of the places they've seen and the people they've met.

Their passion for a way of life was inspiring – and as a native Calgarian, I had no idea of these humble and proud pioneers who, with their families in tow, helped to establish an industry and a quality of life we take for granted. I was honoured to witness their memories.
Fran Humphreys, Script research & development for Doodlebugs: The Video

As a tribute to those individuals and families who experienced the doodlebug life Sharon Stevens has produced DOODLEBUGS: THE VIDEO, a 30 minute experimental documentary. The video is a collection of private photographs and film footage, together with photographs from the Provincial Archives and Glenbow Museum that have been textured into a moving canvas. For more information about the video or to obtain a copy contact Essence Productions, 1701 Broadview Rd. NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 3H4 or phone 283-2536.

End