I’m Brian Crossman, part of a hard-working group of entrepreneurs employing crews and feeding our families here in Estevan, Saskatchewan. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and I’d like to share my thoughts with you.
2020. It’s been a hell of a decade, and we’re only six months in. This year has left us with a global pandemic, oil prices taking a nosedive, economies devastated, people getting sick and dying. If you are in Western Canada, you are fighting to maintain a standard of living, if not your survival. Some people have been applauding the oil crash, while large oil and gas producers have been watching share prices plummet, junior and small operators wondering if they will survive, and drilling and service rig companies pondering if they will have any employees left once the dust settles.
Some people have rejoiced as mining, forestry, and other resources are targeted with over-regulation and excessive taxation (i.e. carbon tax). Extreme taxation is coming for agriculture next. Don’t believe me? Ask a farmer how his or her input costs are doing, or how much financial assistance is coming from the federal government. With protestors blocking the railways and highways earlier this year, the farmers didn’t know if their products would make it from the grain bin to market.
Unfortunately, this is just some of the bad news this year has had to offer.
The Good News
We are Western Canadians. We are resourceful. We come from across Canada and around the globe. We have abundant natural resources – oil, gas, coal (which is still in use), potash, uranium, forestry, lithium, diamonds, rare earth metals, gold, helium, fresh water, and much more. Geothermal testing is currently underway. We have the best agriculture sector on the planet. We feed the world, and our farmers teach the world how to farm better themselves. We have some of the best universities and technical institutes. As for innovation, there is a growing technology sector in Saskatoon.
More Good News
We develop our natural resources in a safe, sustainable, and fair manner, for all stakeholders involved. Just ask anyone who has worked in resource sectors in other countries. Canadians produce it more ethically than any other part of the world. We re-invest our revenue back into our provinces (including Quebec), schools, hospitals, and community centres.
We are happy to share, as we always have been; however, due to poor federal planning and dwindling support, that is becoming increasingly difficult.
Even Better News
We have friends around the globe who would be thrilled to do business with us. Canada is like that neighbour down the street who has the good tools and the knowledge to operate them correctly. That same neighbour would drop everything to give you a helping hand, bringing you a beer later too. We must re-establish these relationships with our friends across the world. We will find ways to sell raw resources and innovate to produce value-added material. If need be, we can do this without Ottawa’s help.
It is always darkest before sunrise. The trials and tribulations we’ve experienced in Western Canada are being worsened by poorly thought out federal policy and regulation, which may burden us for a while. In order to overcome these barriers, we will be obliged to develop relationships with partners south of the border and across the ocean to help us succeed on our own accord. Further, we must strengthen our relationships with our indigenous brothers and sisters, and work with them to build successful partnerships based on respect and mutual benefits.
The Best News
Western Canada has the best and brightest people. Individuals who started with nothing and built empires. Names you might recognize: Brett Wilson, Murray Edwards, Glen Sather, brothers Josh and Chris Simair (the guys who founded “Skip the Dishes”), George “Max” Bell, Jim Pattison, and many more. What I’m saying is we don’t need the “Laurentian Elite” to determine our success. We never have because everything and everyone we need are all right here. There are many young people ready with the next great idea.
We are not short on intelligence, ingenuity, ambition, ability, or good old-fashioned work ethic in this neck of the woods.
It’s time to be the region we were meant to be.
We will leave no one behind. Everything we do will be done sustainably, safely, and to the benefit of all Canadians. We need to work together. Our parents and grandparents survived the Great Depression and two world wars. To fail to succeed will insult the legacy they left us with.
We got this!
Brian is a partner in Independent Well Servicing where he looks after field supervision and marketing. IWS is based in Estevan, Saskatchewan.