Home Regular Contributors Shane Wenzel There will be Oil

There will be Oil

Shane Wenzel

It is not easy being an Albertan! Once again Government has ‘knee capped’ our economy. Some will point out that it was the Supreme Court this time, but facts are it was initiated and influenced by the Federal Government with whom we appear to be in an abusive relationship.The writing is on the wall; we need to stop talking about it and take control of our destiny.

Petroleum is clearly the force behind our modern lifestyle including our health care system. Polls continuously rate healthcare as a top concern of Canadians. A point to remember is that ‘all’ of the sought-after PPE’s worldwide are either ‘made with or by petroleum.’ This includes testing products, masks, gloves, endless hospital medical equipment and those vaccine syringes. It is also said that more than five per cent of the energy consumed by the entire commercial sector is used by hospitals, while little credit has been directed to the industry responsible for making this possible.

Yes, there is more to this story than the price of oil, or carbon emissions, it is the world’s lifeline being put at stake. Politicians cannot tax that away. A carbon tax makes as much sense as the ‘fat tax’ they tried to introduce several years ago.

When diversity is discussed, the reference to expanding STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills are talked about as if it is something new. Many of those who work in the oil and gas industry already hold those skills and work in the STEM sector. In their instance, if there is a demand for workers to fill STEM jobs little training would be required. Oil and gas however is just one industry that can benefit from improved understanding and implementation of STEM training to STEM employment.

What we need to do is ensure those industries are here, identify their needs and tailor the education and training specifically to those needs. Emphasis over the years has been on increasing four-year bachelor degree programs, while the role of occupational certifications and occupational licenses in the STEM economy has been largely ignored. This oversight has left an incomplete view of the linkage between schools and labour markets.

Business groups and governments are putting pressure on universities, college and technical schools to develop programs tailored to specific STEM occupations with an eye towards preparing students for high-growth jobs. The predicted overall growth in STEM job opportunities and an increasing need for skilled workers for jobs that do not require bachelor degrees, further suggests a need for new ideas and policies for supporting a new type of trade school.

It is worth noting that Deputy PM Freeland is ‘eyeing our unspent dollars’ that have accumulated during COVID and has estimated that number to represent up to $100 billion dollars across Canada. I do not know what percentage of that represents Alberta, but whatever the amount, before it ends up in the ‘bank of Ottawa,’ let’s get it invested in Alberta.