September 17, 2015 at 8:30 am  •  Posted in Dave's Blog, Featured by  •  0 Comments


I’m sitting on a sun deck on beautiful Salt Spring Island, BC as I write this. We’ve been here for a week and I’ll admit, the world looks very different from this perspective than it does in Calgary. Take, for instance, the federal election. This is Elizabeth May’s riding. The Greens may not be much of a factor in this election anywhere outside the Left Coast, but here on Salt Spring they are pretty much the only factor. It’s clear the NDP has some support on this island — perhaps even enough that Liz May might be vulnerable if Tom Mulcair could actually create a nationwide Orange Wave. If this campaign stays the course (big If, as always), there is no question Mulcair will do well in BC on election night. But on Salt Spring? Doubtful.

Ahh!  Salt Spring!

Ahh! Salt Spring!

And on this island, the Liberals and Conservatives are not even in the running. Not even in the game.

Now, I’m not suggesting that as Salt Spring Island goes, so goes the nation. I do not expect to live long enough to see that happen. But whether it’s Salt Spring, Saskatoon, or St. John’s, finding yourself someplace else looking back from the outside gives you a different perspective from what you get if you always stay home.

The Righties really should get out more. Travel. And by that, I mean to someplace other than Houston or Cardston or a hilltop in Idaho.

On Monday night, Premier Rachel Notley appeared in a Global News Women of Vision segment, discussing how she plans to make some progress on Alberta’s environmental and climate change record, likening that record to the “embarrassing cousin that no one wants to talk about.”

Wild Eyed Alliance leader Brian Jean immediately set his hair on fire. He’s been doing that with such regularity since Notley became premier that we’re on the verge of a province-wide Bic lighter shortage.

“This is just the latest example of the NDP putting ideology and economic experiments before reality,” Jean thundered in a statement on the party’s website. “The fact is Alberta has a proud story to tell about our environmental progress along with our resource development.” He went on to rant about all kinds of changes Alberta doesn’t need to make that he’s just sure those shifty-eyed socialists are gonna make, leaving the reader with the distinct impression that Brian Jean thinks everything in the oil patch would be just fine if Albertans hadn’t elected an NDP government.

Well, whatever gets you through the night, I guess…but honestly, you might as well believe in the tooth fairy, and for the same reasons: it’s comforting, it doesn’t require you to think, it explains that loonie you found under your pillow, and it conveniently accounts for the hole in your head.

But it has nothing to do with reality.

Here are the inconvenient truths that Brian Jean, Stephen Harper, and the usual suspects on the right are now desperately trying to deny, deflect, and avoid:

  1. Rachel Notley does not control the price of oil. Neither does Stephen Harper. The price of oil really is a function of supply and demand, and is therefore being determined today by the producing countries with the most ability to flood the market with cheap oil in an effort to grab market share. Think Saudi Arabia, and the United States with shale oil.
  2. Countries and provinces that do not have the ability to control, determine, or even influence the price of oil — think Canada and Alberta — should always have a Plan B for those times when the price of oil goes south on them. In investment parlance, that’s called diversifying your portfolio.  In gambling terms, it means don’t put all your money on red.
  3. Conservative governments in both Canada and Alberta put all our money on red.
  4. As much as it stings when someone we know intimately points out our avoidable, correctible flaws — the piece of parsley stuck in our teeth, the soup stains on our tie, the dress that actually does make us look fat, our garlic breath from eating deli for lunch — the truth is they do it out of love, not malice. Because they really don’t want you to go out into the world and be that embarrassing cousin.
  5. The rest of Canada — and much of the world — really does regard Alberta’s record on the environment and climate change as an embarrassment. (This is what I mean when I say Righties have to get out more.) Their assessment is our problem, not theirs. It has real consequences for us — like not being able to get pipelines built to get our oil to market.
  6. The customer is always right. If your customers want you to do business differently, you’d better adapt if you want to stay in business.
  7. It always sucks when the nice, neat, ordered, predictable life we thought we’d fashioned for ourselves gets the rug pulled out from under it. It happens to all of us, when we lose jobs, change jobs, move, fall in love, get dumped, have kids, become empty nesters, have the kids boomerang back home, get a flat tire, and so on. Change is inevitable. You can bitch and moan and whine about it, or you can respond to it and grow with it.
  8. Whether in life, business, or politics, it’s only good enough to live for the next paycheque, the next quarter, or the next election cycle if you don’t care about what happens to those who come after you. If you want to create anything of lasting value or leave any kind of positive legacy, you need to be thinking 50 years or more into the future. That’s especially true in good times. When you’re running full speed, the customers are lined up at the door and the money’s just pouring in, it’s easy to succumb to Gold Rush mentality. But Gold Rushes always end in tears.
  9. The Good Old Days weren’t. Ever. There has never really been a Golden Age. Of anything.
  10. The tooth fairy isn’t real.

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