Home Regular Contributors Shane Wenzel Where are we at and where do we go from here?

Where are we at and where do we go from here?

Shane Wenzel

The past 21 months have been the most difficult in most people’s lives regardless of age. My first New Year’s resolution is to not talk about the pandemic, or any of its derivatives when I can avoid it.

I was excited to have the opportunity before 2021 ended to attend my first normal function in months for the Business in Calgary 2021 Leaders Awards. Not only was the crowd dynamic and excited to finally be at a celebration, but the best part was also seeing smiling faces, hopeful eyes and people talking about the future once again. Having been in the position of managing a business during ‘normal times’ gave me a greater appreciation for what these winners had accomplished. I marveled at how they survived and thrived during one of the most difficult times experienced in decades. Some adapted how they operated; others took advantage of unexpected opportunities by expanding their business to meet needs created by the pandemic. Some made these changes by looking ‘outside the box,’ others were successful by looking ‘inside the box’.

Turning to what we might expect to experience in 2022, I remain hopeful for only good things on the horizon and continued forward momentum. Before the end of 2021, we received an encouraging report from our Minister of Finance that I viewed as my first Christmas present. It seems our key fossil fuel industry has once again rescued us through increased revenues, more investor interest and increased business activity overall. Collectively, that has put more dollars ‘in Alberta’s bank’ and a predication that we can pay down our debt by the fourth quarter of 2022 or early 2023. At year end we were still waiting for a similar ‘good news story’ from the Federal Minister of Finance.

Along with such good news of course comes inflation. The forced slowdown in production revenues, cancelled projects, pipeline disruptions, and a nervous industry due to prohibitive federal government policies resulted in an increase in energy demand. This was reflected in a noticeable rise in gasoline and food prices which together make up a large share of household expenses. At the time of writing, inflation stood around 4.2 per cent according to economists. And the supply chain is a mess with shortages and missing parts and products.

The new City Council declared a climate emergency in ‘hour one’ and quickly dealt home and property owners a 3.9 per cent tax increase in ‘month one’ regardless of campaign ‘talk’. Clearly there will be lots to talk about in 2022 on this front.

Back on the good news side, we hear businesspeople are solving some supply chain problems with plans to finally start making things at home with our own feedstock and talent. It turns out many of our long-awaited products and supplies are sitting on barges outside ports.

The ‘ball has dropped in Times Square’ and 2022 has arrived. I am looking forward to more good news to report and many galas. Three ‘2s’ can only mean good luck. Right?