Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Life In The Oil Patch

I know what probably goes through a lot of people's minds when they think of Alberta.....oil, Ralph Klein country, privatized medical care, fiercely anti-Liberal. Yes, the notion is out there (wrongly in my opinion) that within the family of Confederation Alberta is the anti-Christ. I didn't think I'd be doing up a post on the Oil Sands. There's a lot of politics involved that I'd much rather just keep out of. Far be it from me to defend "Big Oil" but we have to say, based on our experiences to date, that the big oil companies involved with the Oil Sands, aren't the evil empires, they are often made out to be. Of course when there are any big issues involving the environment, it makes the news, as it should. I think environmental safeguards are better than many special interest groups would have us believe. (This is not to say that accidents don't happen but this isn't the bad old days of the 1940's when they built the CANOL pipeline and laid sections of pipe right on the permafrost.) Seldom, however, do we come across stories in the media of the good that they do. They do do a lot to contribute to Fort McMurray and the municipality.....and the entire country too, I should add. Aside from the obvious benefit of employment, they provide scholarships, help provide infrastructure, contribute to community programs, donate to schools and many other things. The new rec centre that's just being completed in Fort McMurray received a lot of funding from Suncor. The building is even named after the company.

Closer to home, when one of the big companies held a community Christmas dinner here in Janvier, they brought along turkeys for every family. We even picked up one for ourselves. At first we were reluctant since we could have easily picked one up in McMurray. One of the reps helping to hand them out, insisted though, so we decided to take one, quite a big one too I should add. Toward the end of the evening, an announcement was made that they still had turkeys left over. And so, to our great fortune, we ended up leaving that evening with two turkeys to stuff into our basement freezer. And yes, I know it looks like we're putting in a good word here simply because we were bribed with turkeys, but as I mentioned, I don't think Suncor and the others are as evil as they are often portrayed by special interest groups or the media.

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