By: Steve Chapman M.Sc. - Change Management Specialist/MOYO Inc.
Published: Oilfield Pulse

    Albertans are resilient. We survive. This is not our first downturn in the market. It's not our first crisis. It's not the first time oil prices have fallen. It's not even the second or third time. I well remember in 2001 as oil plummeted to under $15 a barrel and ALL my clients were oil and gas. I remember the sinking feeling as my monthly consulting revenue fell from $150,000 to less than $40,000 in 45 days,  and suddenly, I was losing $60K a month by staying in business.
     It is also not our first time we have seen government spending outside their means by bringing in questionable fiscal practices and mismanaging what seems to be basic business practices. We have seen inexperienced MLAs making poor decisions.
     Albertans do not have much experience however with our government seemingly abandoning us in our time of need. Sure, we have history of making sweeping changes to the Legislature every few decades, but we have always sat in firm conviction that everyone in this province pulls together in times of crisis.
     Two huge examples are the Calgary Flood and the Fort Mac Fire. There was no shortage of Albertans rolling up their sleeves to help their neighbour or, in fact, perfect strangers to get through it.
     So, it is justifiably confusing to most Albertans when our new government seems more focused on putting their agenda forward than on helping our province get through one of the most challenging economic downturns in a generation. This is a time where our unemployment rate keeps increasing, when businesses are closing, and families are losing their homes and their hope.
     One homily of American humorist Will Rogers I frequently share with clients is, "When you find yourself in a hole ... stop digging." It's not unique or original but one of the most practical pieces of advice I have ever heard.
      All too frequently people feel they can work themselves out of a hole, like a motorist stuck in the mud who keeps spinning the wheels harder convinced eventually he will find traction and get out. We just need to dig harder.
     I understand its exiting for the NDP to suddenly be in the driver's seat after decades of sitting at the kids table. Suddenly, all those seemingly wasted years of near empty policy conventions have a place to see daylight. You can sense their giddiness and eagerness to as much on the table as possible before the dream ends. The NDP are acutely aware they might only have one chance at this.
     In stronger more affluent times, Albertans might be willing to see how this experiment plays out. But, this is not those times. We are in pain. We have a deep ache as we see years, even decades, of work and sacrifice slowly slipping away pulling our hopes and dreams with it. We have entire families living week to week on part time pay cheques.
      So, what do we say to Premier Notley and her government? STOP DIGGING
      In the last year, we have been experiencing one radical change after another without a pause to see what the outcome is. Before our agricultural industry came to grips with Bill 6, we were hit with both a rising minimum wage and corporate tax hikes. Before we grasp that impact, we are facing down a massive carbon tax heralding the largest transfer of tax wealth in the history of Alberta.
     Albertans across the province are begging the Premier to take a breath. We are a strong, proud, and careful people. We are ruggedly entrepreneurial and self-reliant. We need time to understand and get used to change. This new relationship is just happening far too fast at a time when we are looking to the government for leadership and healing.
     Most Albertans are not asking the government to fix the problem. We understand oil prices are a product of world markets. We just don't want new government policies to make a bad situation worse.
     If Premier Notley wants to help Alberta in this time of need, then we need cooperation. The Carbon Tax needs to be put on hold for a year until we get our feet under us. We need a strong united resolution for getting pipelines to the coast. Any coast. We need a task force to take action on rising unemployment. We need an action on Flood Mitigation before we risk another multi billion-dollar natural catastrophe. We need government ot get back into the trenches with business and city leaders to help shoulder this province out of its current crisis. Mostly, we need to feel that Notley and her people are actually listening to Alberta citizens.
      Please STOP DIGGING long enough for Alberta to catch a breath.


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