Fri, June 21
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‘We’re moving on’

Shane Wenzel

The sun is shining, our economy is open, and mandatory masks are quickly becoming a memory. More importantly people are laughing and getting re-acquainted. Kids are having fun in the parks. Soccer, baseball teams and others are in their new uniforms doing what kids do best – having fun! If this doesn’t put a permanent smile on everyone’s face nothing will.

By the time this makes print we will have experienced a toned-down Stampede; but it will still be

our Calgary Stampede. The youth will have enjoyed Nashville North and I will have filled up on minidonuts. It is starting to sound and feel like Calgary again.

Did I mention that Alberta is open?

Initiatives are in place for attracting investment; jobs, and trade missions are on the schedule. In the wake of COVID, which was more about political science than science at times, none of these tasks will be easy. Competitor countries more focused than Canada on fostering growth, and more supporting for efforts to attract investment dollars have an advantage. This will require more input from our Province. Fortunately, our government is up to the task. We need to get our people and industries back to work and we need help from our energy industry.

There are new and old initiatives underway with new industries being developed as by-products from our oil and gas industry. There is a lot of buzz about creating hydrogen, helium, nuclear, bio-board and other construction products. Air Products & Chemicals is planning a $1.3 billion hydrogen plant in Edmonton, and numerous agriculture endeavours and high-level technology companies are on schedule.

I recall in 2001 an Anti-Canada Activist group, The Film & Television Action Committee, funded by big-monied Hollywood Film-Craft Unions protested in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver against jobs lost to federal and provincial tax credit subsidies to foreign movie companies. A film costing $60M in Hollywood cost $36M USD in Canada. Since the ’90s the federal government had its eyes set on becoming ‘Hollywood North.’ Hollywood laughed!

While we were masked behind COVID, the Alberta government implemented new film tax credits. William F White International opened a 100,000-square-foot major WFW studio space in Calgary, and another 90,000+ square feet nearby. Numerous large productions and series such as Black Summer and Wynonna Earp are underway or planned. With such large facilities I anticipate we will see large productions made in Alberta. So, 20 years later the laugh is on Hollywood! There is a ‘Hollywood North.’

While these initiatives are all exciting, we require new competency-based education programs to meet their employment needs. Bow Valley College has announced two CBE programs in Cloud Computing and Data Management Analytics ready to start in January 2022, with more to come.

Hidden among all this good news remains our ongoing battle for our pipelines with the anti-fossil fuel crowd. The economic literacy of most politicians and activists is so shockingly low, they fail to realize that when something becomes scarce, we have less and we pay more!