Showing posts from August, 2016

The politics of anger

The triumph of the Brexit campaign is a warning to the liberal international order MANY Brexiteers built their campaign on optimism. Outside the European Union, Britain would be free to open up to the world. But what secured their victory was anger. Anger stirred up a winning turnout in the depressed, down-at-heel cities of England (see article ). Anger at immigration, globalisation, social liberalism and even feminism, polling shows, translated into a vote to reject the EU. As if victory were a licence to spread hatred, anger has since lashed Britain’s streets with an outburst of racist abuse. Across Western democracies, from the America of Donald Trump to the France of Marine Le Pen, large numbers of people are enraged. If they cannot find a voice within the mainstream, they will make themselves heard from without. Unless they believe that the global order works to their benefit, Brexit risks becoming just the start of an unravelling of globalisation and the prospe

How The Oilpatch Looked 30 Years ago vs Now: Here's My Thoughts and a Speech From 1986

By David Yager Many are saying with great certainty the current oilpatch downturn is the worst ever. I’m sure for many it is. Just depends how old you are. If you’re so young you weren’t working in this business in the latter half of the 1980s then this is true. But it just means you’re younger than I am. I remember the latter half of the 1980s after oil prices collapsed as being terrible. Just like now. Maybe worse. In the summer of 1986 WTI was trading below US$11 a barrel which, according to the website was the 2016 equivalent of about US$25 a barrel. According to a chart dating back 70 years to 1946 this is pretty to the close to the lowest 2016 equivalent price of US$20 a barrel. The closest we’ve been since early this century was US$26.19 on February 11 of this year. Of course people will say in 1986 costs were much lower so comparisons aren’t fair. But not taxes, royalties or interest rates. Huge quantities of natural gas was shut-in due to federally leg

Trip from Calgary to Fort Nelson shows the extent of the industry slowdown

By David Yager Published: JWN Kick ’em when they’re down. There’s no other way to describe the devastating economic impact of the actions of our fellow Canadians on the oil towns of western Canada.   Politicians and activists are either opposed to new oil pipelines or LNG projects or in no hurry to approve them. The Alberta government is espousing on TV the economic genius of pending massive carbon levies after raising corporate taxes, large-emitter carbon taxes and minimum wages. The media provides endless coverage to anybody claiming hydrocarbon fuels will be the end of civilization and how oil is a sunset industry. This is all on top of collapsed oil and gas prices and slashed spending by exploration and production (E&P) companies, another inevitable downturn in a notoriously cyclical industry. For oilfield services (OFS), it is lost jobs, slashed wages, folding companies, collapsing share values. It is clear too many don’t care. But a picture is worth a thousand words. A

Bio-fuels one of man's greatest blunders

By Gwyn Morgan                Victoria,- Are bio-fuels really greener than the fossil fuels they displace? My last column pointed out that electric cars are only as green as the fuel used to generate the electricity they consume.                For internal-combustion-powered vehicles, much of the focus has been on trying to reduce carbon emissions by adding ethanol to gasoline and vegetable oil to diesel. These bio-fuels are sourced mainly from cereal grain and vegetable oil. Ethanol is manufactured by fermenting and distilling grain, while vegetable oil comes mainly from palm trees. Bio-fuel has become an enormous global industry, producing some 100 billion litres annually. Mandatory ethanol and vegetable oil standards have been enacted in 64 countries. But bio-fuels fail on several fronts. First we need to correct the popular misconception that burning bio-fuel produces significantly lower emissions than gasoline or diesel. In reality, there's little difference. Esse

The Human Cost of Endless Tax Hikes

By: Paige MacPherson It's no secret that small business owners in Calgary have been hit hard this year. Rising property taxes are one of the factors at play, with many business owners facing property tax hikes in the double-digits-some even in the triple- digits. The 2016 business property tax rose 3.8 per cent on top of increased assessments. Business owners across Alberta are grappling with an increasing minimum wage and increasing Canada Pension Plan payroll taxes. Restaurants are dealing with increased liquor taxes. Everone is facing declining sales as unemployment is spiking. Darren Hamelin was the owner of Escoba Bistro in downtown Calgary, a wine bar that had been open for 20 years. Last spring, Hamelin's property taxes were hiked by 97 per cent. Between declining sales and a bike lane slapped in front of his storefront that severely limited parking, the property tax hike was a hit. Hamelin wasn't going to let his small business be swallowed by tax  hikes wit

The energy industry compromised, but green activists have not

Author: Mark Milke Published: The Globe and Mail Every so often, two seemingly unrelated events occur near to each other and illustrate the nub of a problem. Consider the recent   panel   created by the Alberta government to examine ways to cut oil sands carbon emissions. The panel includes appointees from major energy companies, one First Nation, representatives from a few non-government organizations, the Pembina Institute and ForestEthics/Greenpeace alumnus Tzeporah Berman. Now, ponder TransCanada Corp. president and chief executive Russ Girling, who   mused out loud   last week about the association between efforts to gain “social licence” and approval for major resource projects. The link, he said, was “not evident at the current time.” Mr. Girling is correct, but he and other executives in major Canadian industries might be waiting a long time for a demonstrable link. That’s because it’s a mistake to assume reasonable efforts will mean something to activists who disdain