Friday, April 7, 2017

spring and more problems in Alberta

It has been a busy day. I'm done questioning for now and the next steps in the court case are ongoing.

It's been an interesting few days and I've learned a lot about lawyers. They are pretty neat and know strategy very well.

I got to meet with a court reporter who gave me her card so I will be able to use her services to transcribe any tapes I have into transcripts.

All in all a productive business.

Younger boy is still skipping school. I've yapped with older boy on the phone and he will be coming home for a visit.

The laundry is piled up and the papers are still to be organized; I might spend a bit of time doing this work tonight.

Best thing to do when you have a lawsuit is to get exercise. I will start up my walking program. It's a long business getting ready for the court and I do not want to be too roly poly by the time I get to go to the court itself.

Outside a cool day with a grey scarf of mist about the necks of trees. The geese are back in full force and the soldier of the snow has gone. It seems spring is here finally.

I will try to bring Rebecca home tomorrow for a visit. I have a bill to pay for the haircut that I need to drop off.  Then there will be sundry appointments until the next part of the lawsuit.

It is getting troubling about the economy in Alberta. The economy is going downhill.
How will we pay for government and services if we don't have people working?
I feel this downturn is the worst we have had and  it won't be followed by an upturn.

Jobs are getting scarce. People can't stick around when jobs are gone. We're in trouble and everyone is spending money.  Very troubling.

Braid: It's a lonely town as Ottawa plans the death of oil and gas

Published on: April 6, 2017 | Last Updated: April 6, 2017 8:55 PM MDT
It's lonely when governments declare your industry dead
It gets lonely here in Calgary, as companies sell out of the oilsands and try to sublet their echoing downtown office space.
People do tend to feel that way when they realize that the nation at large, or at least the leadership, doesn’t seem to care, and is even actively working against the province’s economy.
It’s the way you feel, in short, when your main job-producing industry has already been declared dead.
That is the very clear federal goal, despite the pipeline approvals and all the talk about oil and gas being around for a while.
If those policies persist, we have to push mightily for help in remaking the economy.
The Notley New Democrats are at least trying to do this, while desperately hoping their trust in Ottawa does not lead to tears.
But, so far, they’ve been hung out to dry by Ottawa. The Liberals are not trying to diversify the economy their policies will kill.
Kent Hehr disagrees. The Calgary MP and minister points to a $75-million federal investment for the University of Calgary to develop low carbon technology for oil and gas.
That’s great, but when the overall goal is the end of oil and gas, the $75 million is obviously going to a technology that will also die.
The budget also eliminated a tax break that stimulated drilling of new wells. The only money for wells was aimed at cleaning up the old ones.
Really, how clear a sign do we need?
In a letter to the Herald, Hehr also mentioned $78 million to build U of C “as a possible hub for the future site of a supercluster.”
That sounds more like astronomy than salvation. Where’s the support for specific new high-tech industries unrelated to oil and gas?
Why, that would be in central Canada.
Last week, I mentioned two federal efforts in Ontario — $102.4 million for auto research in Ottawa and various vote-sensitive centres around southern Ontario; and $40 million for work on artificial intelligence, an industry that will probably spin off many billions, if not trillions of dollars, in coming decades.
Alberta isn’t about to get auto-related funding, obviously. But artificial intelligence research could be done anywhere close to great universities. Calgary or Edmonton would do fine.
The competition is determined, rich and able. We are faced with a highly successful effort, backed by two governments and the most powerful Ontario corporations, to locate Canada’s future high-tech hub in southern Ontario.
Many people there have been brilliant at developing these possibilities, while we were imagining that oil and gas would get us by. And so far, the Liberal budget proposes to remake us with help for agriculture and agri-business, the old standbys.
Alberta is not entirely blameless for this mess. Massive Progressive Conservative surpluses that could have stimulated a new economy were thrown away on program overspending and placation of interest groups.
But what Albertans could not have foreseen is the worldwide demonization of the oilsands, the power of anti-pipeline lobbies, the hostility and obstructiveness of other provinces, and the election of a national government that actively plans the end of oil and gas.
Remember what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told an Ontario audience in January?
“We can’t shut down the oilsands tomorrow,” he said. “We need to phase them out. We need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels, but it’s going to take time and, in the meantime, we have to manage that transition.”
It’s all true, except the part about the Liberals managing transition. They aren’t — not here, anyway.
Caught in a fierce tailwind after he said that, Trudeau’s office put out a statement:
“The economic benefits of the oilsands are immeasurable. The prime minister, as he and previous prime ministers including Stephen Harper have been saying for a long time, was reiterating the need to move away from our dependency on fossil fuels and his commitment to growing the economy all while protecting the environment.”
Three things about that:
The statement suddenly expands the field from “oilsands” to “fossil fuels.”
Harper only said it was an “aspirational” goal to end fossil fuel dependence by the end of this century.
And the Liberals are not “growing the economy.”
A week later, Trudeau came to Calgary and said, “Um, I misspoke. I said something the way I shouldn’t have said it.”
It sounded like an apology, except that he didn’t say he meant anything different.
Albertans can be firmly in favour of climate change action — as I certainly am — and still say to Ottawa:
You cannot wind down one of Canada’s most successful industries, effectively shutting in scores of billions in wealth, without devoting the full and friendly power of government — money, sound policy, tax incentives — to building an equally successful one.
But, so far, a province that needs EMS only gets Band-Aids.
Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

Julie Ali ·
This bust feels different than all the other busts that we have been through in Alberta. Jobs are disappearing and I don't see many new ones taking their place -if any. It's also a time where government is ramping up spending for no discernible benefits to citizens. Debt will further impede our ability to recover from this mess.

I don't see a recovery any time soon. Folks might have to start leaving Alberta for other provinces because without jobs there is no way to pay for the bills of life. There's only one place where you can keep adding to the debt and keep spending and that's in government. It is very troubling.
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