Editorial – Hewers and drawers still

Jeff Burgar

“When life hands you lemons, get out there and make lemonade.”

From experience, we can say most people rarely take that advice. In fact, maybe one person in a thousand, whether they be in business, write editorial columns, run a movie theatre or gas station, an eating place, manage schools, are in politics, or push paper at a bank, follows that thinking. Too bad. We would be better off if more of us did.

But instead, we have excuses. We say we are picked upon. Or it’s not our department. Somebody else will have to do it. We don’t have money. We don’t have the brains. The government doesn’t like us. No time. Laws are rigged against us. Heck, we even argue the weather turned against us.

Life is much like baseball or lotteries. Baseball gives you three strikes. And usually multiple times to try. Yet, in life, so many of us think if we get just one strike, we are out of the game.

As for lotteries, most of us know we can’t win without a ticket. But do we take a chance in the game of life? Nothing ventured, nothing gained turns into nothing ventured, nothing lost.

Last week, a food expert at the University of Alberta said it would be a good idea if Alberta, and Canada, became more independent in food. Hardly a new idea. In fact, it is a good idea if all Canada was more independent in everything from making televisions to drugs, to growing tomatoes and blueberries.

Alas, we are greedy little shites. Why should we pay $12 for pair of pliers, when we can get almost the same tool, made in China, for the equivalent of $1.99 in wheat?

And if our nation is in a tiff with China, there is always Vietnam. Or India. Or Malaysia. Or even the good ol’ US of A.

Twenty-five years ago, Alberta was drowning in a product called natural gas. In many places, drilling for water usually meant hitting gas instead. Cap the well and move on. No market for gas.

A couple of bright entrepreneurs had an answer. It wasn’t the equivalent of making lemonade. Or plastics. Or bigger and better power plants. No. They built a pipeline, called Alliance, that took Alberta gas to Chicago. Instead of pennies, Alberta now was getting dollars. Good for Alberta. We can now buy more Chinese pliers.

Some day, it is entirely possible instead of oil and gas we will be shipping water. Southwestern states are in the midst of a 20-year long drought that sees no end. Estimates say 77 per cent of water used there goes to irrigate crops. They are running out, despite intense conservation efforts.

Back to energy, the question today is much the same as it was 25 years ago. All this gas? How do we get more money for it? All this oil, how do we get paid for it?

Yet, is selling it all still the best answer? Why is it so hard to create jobs right here in Alberta and Canada? Or is that just too much work to figure out?

When it comes to Alberta economics, it mostly is still a matter of, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.”

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