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MAKICHUK: Seeking economic diversity when it’s all going to hell

“Let’s keep it simple. Let’s do what we do best and absolutely, let’s expand our tech footprint in any way we possibly can — and it doesn’t just have to be in a green, eco-direction, as the esteemed Mr. Dhaliwal suggests.”

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On Nov. 16, the year 2021, Calgary city council voted 13-2 to declare a climate emergency, with only Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu and Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean opposed.

The notice of motion was initially brought forward by Ward 5 Coun. Raj Dhaliwal and calls for the city to take action on climate change through various initiatives that will help limit global warming.

It includes calls for the city to accelerate its emissions reduction targets to net-zero by 2050, collaborate and engage with First Nations communities to ensure intersectional climate change strategies, and develop a carbon budget to guide future council decisions.

“People who think it’s a war against our oil and gas … it’s not about that. It’s about how we produce, and how we consume our hydrocarbons, and supporting our oil and gas or energy sector,” Dhaliwal said.

“And on top of that, we also have an opportunity to bring this monumental and transformative change.”

Sorry Mr. Dhaliwal, but you’re so out to lunch, so out in left field, so out of touch, so out of … well, you get the point.

Yes, even city councils in Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto and, even our brethren up north, in Edmonton — have done the same.

It’s all part of this new trend toward extremist activism, the so-called green signalling effect, and, accompanied by a heckuva lot of journalism that passes as journalism, but is actually an agenda unto itself.

Take a look at the eco-activist Narwhal online publication, and tell me if you think that’s journalism. Taxpayer-funded, by the way.

Rookie mayor Jyoti Gondek’s climate emergency declaration aside — a bit of a head-shaker, for sure — I think it’s time we start keeping things simple.

When it comes to the city hall budget, if we can’t afford it, we toss it. Simple as that. Every department in that massive bureaucracy should be read the riot act on how to do with less.

And I don’t care if it’s the Calgary Police Service or the guy who fines me for not shovelling snow off my walk … it’s time we tighten our belts. Mayor Farkas, may have broached that to some extent, Mayor “Greta” Gondek surely won’t.

She is Nenshi-lite scary and we are stuck with her for the next four years. Status quo, ladies and gents, status quo — just what you voted for.

Allow me to digress, slightly.

The US keeps a military liaison in Russia, just as the Russians keep a military liaison in the US. It’s an honoured exchange.

No big secrets are revealed but both observers get to see stuff we will never see and report back to their respective higher-ups.

Well, this particular American liaison had some interesting things to say to a friend of mine. And it involved how the Russians ingeniously keep things simple.

Take for instance fighter jet ejection seats. Which jet fighter would you rather eject from … an American fighter jet or a Russian fighter jet?

Ah … you don’t trust the Russian technology, right? Wrong.

The American ejection system, in any fighter jet, is made by hundreds, if not thousands of different contractors.

The Russians? One. Yes, just one manufacturer. They design it from start to finish. Chances are it will probably not fail as often as its American counterpart.

Again … not my opinion. The opinion of this US military liaison, who lived and worked in Moscow and saw things for himself.

Secondly, US jet fighters have high-tech titanium or other rare metal engine mounts — which, are probably good but expensive as hell.

What do the Russians use? Hardwood. That’s right, hardwood. Why? Because it works, it absorbs vibration, as it is supposed to and it’s cheap as hell.

That would never, ever happen at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works in Palmdale, Calif. 

Better to not tell the Pentagon this — better to make fun of them after work at the bar.

The lesson here, folks, is that we don’t have to re-invent the wheel to bring Alberta back on track following the devastation of COVID-19 and well-meaning health officials on our economy.

Let’s keep it simple. Let’s do what we do best and absolutely, let’s expand our tech footprint in any way we possibly can — and it doesn’t just have to be in a green, eco-direction, as the esteemed Mr. Dhaliwal suggests.

I recently read an interesting piece in Breaking Defense online, an excellent website for military news with top-notch writers, which quoted a new report from the Reagan Institute, titled “A Manufacturing Renaissance: Bolstering U.S. Production for National Security and Economic Prosperity.” 

The report called for a US “manufacturing renaissance” amid an intensifying economic and national security competition with China, which has openly stated it intends to displace the US as the world’s leading economy in coming decades.

The report’s four recommendations include: modernizing the Defense Production Act, enlarging the US workforce for high-demand trades, creating new public partnerships and financial incentives to strengthen economic sectors important to national security and facilitating new forums with G7 and Quad (US, India, Japan, and Australia) countries to coordinate on economic issues.

While we’re not so militarily inclined, it seems obvious that our province must also look at launching an economic “renaissance” if we are to compete with the world. We simply can’t do things the way we were, we must adjust our attitudes and fast.

And I’m not talking about destructive open-pit coal mines in the Eastern slopes, I’m talking about simple things such as establishing special economic zones to lure foreign investment — the so-called innovators, entrepreneurs and companies we seek.

This is going to impact rural areas in Alberta, like it or not.

We must also expand support for the industries that made our province strong in the first place, such as natural gas and crude oil, agriculture, forestry, mining, construction and tourism.

Alberta beef, for instance, is among the best in the world. It’s high time we let everybody know that. 

Reduce the taxes on small businesses in Calgary and Edmonton, offer incentives to tech startups and cut red tape for businesses. 

If we need more revenue, don’t cut from health, put a toll on Hwy. 2 (semi-trucks, not included). Find other innovative ways, such as the highly successful visitor fee for Kananaskis.

That was the best thing the Kenney government has done since it came into power.

We need to pour more dollars, into R&D, just like China is doing and to hell with the feds.

Six-figure green jobs and unicorns are not going to appear anytime soon — the oil industry is going to be around for many years and we should not be ashamed of that, no matter what the mop-haired man in the PMO says or does.

In short, we must improve the business environment and incentivize investment in innovation.

Alberta strong. Keep it simple. We can do this.

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor
He has worked in the media for decades, including as an editor for the Calgary Herald. He is also the Calgary correspondent for ChinaFactor.news
makichukd@gmail.com

Dave Makichuck is a Columnist for the Western Standard. He is a 35-year veteran journalist who has served at both the Calgary Sun and Calgary Herald.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. d.r.cmolloy@gmail.com

    November 25, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    To cure the problems of election do not allow any donations to any party.If you add to that all candidates must pay for their pre election and all candidates get a one time grant thats taxable. When we look at the wages and benefits of theAHS staff it speaks volumes for the mess we are in. Those wages are for top exec’s of the major that produce wealth.

  2. Ben Wilson

    November 25, 2021 at 9:38 am

    Yes…. the Looney Left is taking over. And they are doing a terrible job. The enemy is not really the Looney Left, it’s the MSM who protect them.

    In Calgary 10 of their 15 elected officials won with big contributions from Foreign Funded sources. And hardly a word about this in the news. Including western standard and Rebel News and True North. Why!! Are they scared? After the Election the UCP gov put in legislation ending Foreign Money from influencing elections. Personal, I think they wanted to wait until after the election, so people could first see why they did it. Very little media coverage of this too. Why. are they scared? Hmmm.

  3. Leslie Solar

    November 24, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Oh, and about the IPCC. They were completely trashed in the 1990’s.

    Today we have Tedros (not a doctor, but an extremist from Ethiopia) as head of the WHO, with no credentials for the job. Back in the 1990s we had an Indian guy (I think it was) as head of the IPCC when we had all the scare tactics about Global Warming. He was an Engineer. As in train engineer. He know how to run a locomotive. (I believe he was finally ousted due to some sexual caper or other, but cant remember exactly.) The many “reports” that were produced during his tenure were found to be and contain lies of various sorts (see some of the work of Donna LaFramboise from Canada), and the hacked emails out of East Anglia University. And Ross McKittricks debunking of Mike Manns “hockey stick graph” for starters.

    But, as Dan Bongino will tell us, “Lie. Lie confidently. and Limit the public’s access to the truth” They pulled if off. After all the academic papers debunking this BS, they quietly pulled back for a couple of years. Re-labelled it “climate change” and just carried on. And guys like Jason Nixon are now giving credence to this “global emergency”.

    Absolutely amazing.

  4. Leslie Solar

    November 24, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    If Gondek actually knew how to create new technology (or even improve on existing technology) she would be out in the business world, rather than spouting BS as Mayor of Calgary. The true business innovators just need to have politicians get out of their way. Keep the corporate tax low. A minimum of red tape. But keep them honest as regards the consumer. Beware of monopolies and break them up if you have to. And then let them do their thing.

    What the political operatives have figured out is this. Calgary has a ward system, but the Mayor is elected over the whole city. Thus the “block votes” are very important. And those that are the “influencers” can pull rabbits out of hats. Klein was a master at keeping the block votes in his pocket. I doubt Gondek can do that, but you enlist those that can, and then are controlled by these “friends”. Hopefully Farkas will “bleed awhile, and then arise to fight another day”. Voters need to start poking around and finding honest and good people who cant be bought. They are out there, often toiling away to feed their families. Those who have made fortunes need to recognize that they need to help find, nurture and elect good people. All the money in the world is not of much use if you allow your own nest to be fouled by a bunch of sociopaths.

  5. Left Coast

    November 24, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    City Councils all over the Planet have bought into the IPCC/UN Agenda 2030 . . . they are being led by the most Corrupt Organization on the Planet made up of 190 odd countries most run by Despots & Diktators.

    Stop electing the Dumbest amongst us to run the Cities, Provinces & Country !

  6. Left Coast

    November 24, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    Oil is not a “fossil fuel”, but was deemed an organic substance back in 1894 when Rockefeller met with the worlds organic chemists – he wanted a way to ensure that his Standard Oil Company could raise the price of his product as necessary by claiming it was going to someday run out. Yes, that has been their tactic for 126 years now, and people still fall for it!!!
    The second most common liquid on Earth is oil, after water. It is produced as a byproduct of geological heat and pressure in the crust – just as the hydrocarbon atmospheres of other planets and moons. How many dinosaurs died on some of Jupiter’s moons? None. Yet they have methane atmosphere. Please, feel free to research abiotic petroleum before you claim I’m crazy.
    There has never been a fossil recovered from greater than 10,000 feet below the surface. Oil wells average depth is 30,000 feet.
    The greatest “greenhouse gas” is water vapor, but the left can’t tax evaporation of the oceans.
    The biggest LIE of the last century . .

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Opinion

BRADLEY: No Central Bank Digital Currency can stack up to Bitcoin

Why Bitcoin will always be the superior digital currency.

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These days, many countries are considering introducing their own Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

The Bank of England recently released a research paper discussing the possibility of creating its own digital currency, saying it has “not yet made a decision on whether to introduce CBDC”.

In July 2021, the Bank of Canada issued a discussion paper called “The Positive Case for a CBDC”, citing it “could be an effective competition policy tool for payments” and “could also support the vibrancy of the digital economy.”

But no country is moving faster on this front than China.

The Central Bank of China has already introduced a digital yuan, which is expected to eliminate physical cash and provide a centralized payment-processing network.

As China continues to expand its CBDC implementation beyond its trial run in some cities, more of its citizens will be forced into using the government’s app to identify themselves, store their wealth and make everyday purchases. That means the Chinese government will be able to track purchases and even freeze or close personal accounts, for whatever reason they see fit.

That is a terrifying prospect – and it highlights one of the many reasons bitcoin will always be superior to any currency issued and controlled by any government.

The Bitcoin network uses blockchain technology to track the status of the network, including user balances and transactions. This allows transparency and decentralization by nature. Perhaps most importantly, this means that the system cannot be controlled or influenced by any one person, company or government.

China’s digital yuan – and any CBDC under consideration – have the complete opposite fundamentals. With a CBDC, one central bank has ultimate control and power over the currency, not to mention the ability to track and even reverse everyday purchases.

It’s a particularly worrisome situation in China, where its government has been pushing a social credit system that, at its core, rewards or punishes people for their economic and personal behaviours. As the country implements its digital yuan more broadly, there are fears China could use its CBDC to extend control over even more of its citizens’ rights and freedoms.

We don’t face that threat in western countries yet, but that’s not to say we are immune from the possibility. If Meta’s recent announcement that it’s shutting down the face recognition system on Facebook is any indication, our society is definitely not keen on being monitored, controlled, or surveilled in any way.

From 2013 to 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice ran Operation Choke Point to monitor and crack down on payments for what the government deemed “high-risk activities”, ranging from online gambling and payday loans to pornography and surveillance equipment sales. These activities were not illegal but they offended the government’s moral compass – a slippery and scary slope.

Most recently, in October 2021 U.S. President Joe Biden and his government backed down from requiring the IRS to collect data on every bank account with more than $600 in annual transactions. 

Infringements like these on our privacy are unacceptable. But the likelihood of them happening will grow exponentially if, and when, western governments introduce their own CBDCs.

Aside from a potential loss of personal freedom and privacy, CBDCs would introduce another undesirable outcome: even greater inflation than we’re experiencing today. Governments, including our own here in Canada, are printing money faster than ever, which simultaneously drives inflation and devalues personal wealth.

As Saifedean Ammous writes in his fantastic book, The Fiat Standard: The Debt Slavery Alternative to Human Civilization, “CBDCs would allow for the implementation of…inflationist schemes with high efficiency, allowing for increased central planning of market activity. Government spending would proceed unabated by whatever little discipline credit markets currently exert. Real-world prices are likely to rise, which would lead to more control over economic production to mandate prices.”

To sum this up, CBDCs could lead to higher inflation, less personal autonomy, and more government meddling. For those reasons, whenever I’m asked if the introduction of CBDCs will kill bitcoin and its relevance, my answer is a resounding, “No.”

Central bank digital currencies are not the same thing as bitcoin. They aren’t even competitors with bitcoin, nor will they ever replace bitcoin. They are a distraction. In my opinion, CBDCs will only create greater demand for bitcoin and its many advantages.

Bitcoin offers individuals the profound ability to own sound money, protect their wealth from inflation and keep governments from micro-managing their finances. That is certainly not what CBDCs will do, and it’s why we should all be very apprehensive about giving central banks the ability to issue, oversee and control digital currencies.

No CBDC can, or ever will, stack up to bitcoin.

Guest Column from Dave Bradley, Chief Revenue Officer at Bitcoin Well
@bitcoinbrains on Twitter

Sponsored by Bitcoin Well

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Opinion

ROYER: Canada ignores Alberta. Because it can

The only conclusion is that Canada is not a functioning, modern federal democracy. It caters almost exclusively to the needs of the two primary provinces.

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Crickets. That is the sound of Canada’s response to Alberta’s request to consider revisions to the equalization program over a month ago. What does the deafening silence say about Canada?

Trudeau brushed off the referendum saying that he couldn’t unilaterally address the issue, although he clearly can. His government has several bilateral agreements with provinces other than Alberta.  He can agree to change the equalization formula to drain less wealth from Alberta and Saskatchewan in the first place.

The federal Conservative Party’s silence is due to their leader Erin O’Toole’s decision to pander to Ontario and Quebec, taking the West for granted.

The silence has made one thing absolutely clear: Alberta has no voice in Canada. Voting against the Liberals hasn’t worked. Voting in a couple of Liberal MPs hasn’t helped. Relying on protection provincial sovereignty under the constitution has proven to be useless; Trudeau’s government intercedes into those defined powers with impunity.

All that remains is to look at the big picture. Alberta had no democratic input into decisions that dramatically diminished its economy. Wealth continues to be drained from the province and it has no means to stop it. A referendum — the ultimate expression of democratic rights — is ignored. What does this make Canada?

First, it clearly is not a modern democratic nation. Modern democracies give voice to minorities and seek compromise.

We do not have a federal government. There is no structural input from the far reaches of the country in the nation’s decision-making process. It is a central government, serving only the centre.

We are not really a federation either. Rights of the lesser provinces are extinguished at the whim of the central government. Those intrusions are dutifully upheld by the Supreme Court, an institution with a majority of judges from central Canada. The Senate is completely ineffective in protecting the federation. It over-represents Quebec and Atlantic Canada, is appointed at the sole discretion of the prime minister and has very limited powers to disagree with him. Alberta’s attempt to introduce democracy into the selection of Senators has been ignored by the prime minister.

Power is extremely concentrated. Trudeau’s emissions cap on hydrocarbon production is just the most recent example. No discussion with Parliament or the provinces was taken; he just made the decision with his personal staff, and announced it

He has this power because hyper-partisanship, strict party discipline and the overly centralized government concentrates power. We’ve abandoned our historic Westminster Parliamentary system of government and taken on an American style constitutional system with judicial supremacy, but with an all-powerful prime minister that lacks the checks-and-balances placed upon an American president.

The only respectful response to Alberta came from Saskatchewan’s Premier Scott Moe. He called for his province to become a nation within a nation, a status effectively granted Quebec. Neither the federal structure nor the national parliament protect the outlying provinces. They now need to gain near national powers in order to protect themselves from the central government.

The only conclusion is Canada is not a functioning, modern federal democracy. It caters almost exclusively to the needs of the two primary provinces: Ontario and Quebec. The concentration of power and the malleability of federal sovereignties has makes the prime minister effectively an elected dictator. The only check on the prime minister’s power is in an occasional national election, the results of which are determined almost entirely in Ontario and Quebec.

So, what is Canada? It is a country in which the central provinces in conjunction with the central government have dominion over the outlying provinces, and those central provinces elect a prime minister who is given near royal prerogative.

Our country is called (at least officially) the Dominion of Canada, a constitutional monarchy. By the word dominion are we saying that the centre has dominion over the rest of the country? And does constitutional democracy say that the constitution concentrates power into the hands of a single person?

We can do better.

Randy Royer is a Western Standard columnist

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Energy

VENKATACHALAM & KAPLAN: Oil and gas production is essential to BC’s economy

Here’s another slice of statistical bread to consider: In 2017 the BC oil and gas industry purchased $5.6 billion worth of goods and services from other sectors.

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Guest column by Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan of the Canadian Energy Centre

British Columbia has been producing oil and natural gas since 1952. In fact, as of 2018, BC produced 32% of Canada’s natural gas production and 2% of Canada’s conventional daily oil production. British Columbia collects royalties from oil and gas development, supporting the economic prosperity in the province.

Want to know how important the oil and natural gas industry is to the BC economy? Using customized Statistic Canada data from 2017 (the latest year available for this comparison), it turns out oil and gas in BC  generated about $18 billion in outputs, consisting primarily of the value of goods and services produced, as well as a GDP of $9.5 billion.

As for what most of us can relate to — jobs — the BC oil and gas industry was responsible for nearly 26,500 direct jobs and more than 36,100 indirect jobs (62,602 jobs in total) in 2017. Also relevant: The oil and gas sector paid out over $3.1 billion in wages and salaries to BC workers that year.

Here’s another slice of statistical bread to consider: In 2017 the BC oil and gas industry purchased $5.6 billion worth of goods and services from other sectors. That included $600 million from the finance and insurance sector, $770 million in professional services, and $2.8 billion from the manufacturing sector, to name just three examples.

Spending by the oil and gas sector in BC is not the only way to consider the impact of the industry. Given that a large chunk of the oil and gas sector is next door in Alberta, let’s look at what Alberta’s trade relationship with its westerly neighbour does for BC.

BC’s interprovincial trade in total with all provinces in 2017 amounted to $39.4 billion. Alberta was responsible for the largest amount at $15.4 billion, or about 38%, of that trade.

That share of BC’s trade exports is remarkable, given that Alberta’s share of Canada’s population was just 11.5 percent in 2017. Alberta consumers, businesses and governments buy far more from BC in goods and services than its population as a share of Canada would suggest would be the case. Alberta’s capital-intensive, high-wage-paying oil and gas sector is a major reason why.

If Alberta were a country, the province’s $15.4 billion in trade with BC would come in behind only the United States (about $22.3 billion in purchases of goods and services from BC) in 2017. In fact, Alberta’s importance to B.C. exports was ranked far ahead of China ($6.9 billion), Japan ($4.5 billion), and South Korea ($2.9 billion)—the next biggest destinations for BC’s trade exports.

BC has a natural advantage for market access in some respects when compared to the United States. For instance, BC’s coast is near to many Asian-Pacific markets than are U.S. Gulf Coast facilities. The distance between the U.S. Gulf Coast and to the Japanese ports of Himeji and Sodegaura is more than 9,000 nautical miles, compared to less than 4,200 nautical miles between those two Japanese ports and the coast of BC.

The recent demand for natural gas in Asia, especially Japan (the largest importer of LNG) and price increase for natural gas, presents an exciting opportunity for BC oil and gas industry. The IEA predicts that by 2024 , natural gas demand forecast in Asia will be up 7% from 2019’s pre-COVID-19  levels. 

Be it in employment, salaries and wages paid, GDP, or the purchase of goods and services, the impact of oil and natural gas (and Alberta) on BC’s economy and trade flows is significant.

Guest column by Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan are with the Canadian Energy Centre

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