HicksBiz Blog

Category: Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

HICKS ON BIZ: The sanitization of death By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN July 27, 2018

Ashes to ashes: One of two crematoriums at Serenity Funeral Service. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton Garry Howdle admits to being old-school. As president and funeral director of the not-for-profit Serenity Funeral Service, he carries out the wishes of clients — the deceased person’s family — from weeks of mourning down to simple cremation in a pine box  with no ritual, no mourning, no goodbyes. Personally, he worries. He believes the growing lack of ritual, the “sanitization of death” has become avoidance of sadness, indeed, avoidance of death itself. He worries about an absence of psychological closure for those close to the deceased, comfort once provided by religious ritual. Few businesses have been as impacted by changes in Canadian society as funeral service providers. Forty years ago,  Mom or Dad would pass on, the adult children gathered at a funeral home for evenings of prayers and viewing, often with an open casket. After a church fune ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Alberta's long, long haul back to prosperity By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN July 19, 2018

Premier Rachel Notley, and Minister of Finance Joe Ceci, arrive at Scotsman's Hill in Calgary on Wednesday July 4, 2018. Leah Hennel/Postmedia So what’s happening out there? The Alberta government, 10 months at most away from the next provincial election, is holding up the economic glass and pronouncing it just about darned full. Business leaders wonder what brand of almost-legal marijuana Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and her financial minister Joe Ceci have been smoking. Edmonton’s been okay. Our financial health is underpinned by near 25% of the citizenry being on government and quasi-government (health/education) payroll, which the union-friendly NDP government has not cut. But Calgary was devastated, and most of Northern Alberta’s oil/gas regional centres – Cold Lake, Drayton Valley, Grande Prairie – are still in shock from the oil price crash of 2014, plus increased corporate and personal taxes, carbon taxes and increases to the minimum wage. In late Jun ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Greyhound pull-out a shock, but not a surprise By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, July 13, 2018

Passengers disembark on May 29, 2016, from the first Greyhound bus to stop at the new Greyhound station, which opened in the Via Rail location at 12360 121 St.Ed Kaiser / Postmedia That Greyhound Canada abruptly pulled out of Western Canada – and it doesn’t get more abrupt than three months’ notice – was a shock. But, in retrospect, the end of Greyhound (Western Canada) should not have been a surprise. Greyhound was operating on an obsolete model of scheduled bus service at fixed prices, leaving at the same time of day and heading out on the same routes no matter the demand or number of passengers on board, not caring about how passengers got to-and-from its bus depots. It also explains why Greyhound seemed content at its “temporary” bus station in some moose pasture (the VIA Rail terminal) out by the Yellowhead and 122 Street, having moved after the downtown bus station land was sold to Daryl Katz’s ICE District development company. In retrospe ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta can tackle social programs because of strong economic bedrock By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, July 6, 2018

Edmonton skylineJason Franson / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS On Canada Day, Alberta’s news reports were all about righting wrongs from Canada’s past, be it racism, mistreatment of First Nations peoples, gender inequality, LGBTQ pride and acceptance. These are all fine causes worthy of our attention. But what is sometimes lost is that the ability of our province to devote so much to sociological/cultural issues rests on a solid economic bedrock and a high standard of living. Without far-sighted decisions made in the past, Alberta’s economy would be nowhere close to what it is today. Let’s celebrate, and teach our children, about the historical choices and people that have made Edmonton and Northern Alberta one of the most materially prosperous places on Earth. On my list would be: The building of Fort Edmonton:  If the Hudson’s Bay Company hadn’t built Fort Edmonton (1795 to 1891), Edmonton wouldn’t be here in the first place. The Cana ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Goodbye Edmonton, hello region By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 29, 2018

Edmonton City Hall.David Bloom / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS It’s one thing for politicians to defend tax increases as a necessary evil, to fund services being demanded by the citizenry. But then there’s a reality called the free market. Invisible political boundaries surround the City of Edmonton. Step across that boundary into Sturgeon, Strathcona, Leduc or Parkland counties. Magically, industrial land prices drop by a half or more.  Ongoing business property taxes check in at 50% less than in Edmonton’s industrial parks. When existing companies expand or modernize, they are moving out of Edmonton to the major industrial parks in municipalities surrounding  the city — the Nisku and Leduc business parks, Parkland’s massive Acheson business park butting up against the city’s western boundary, Strathcona and Sturgeon counties for heavy industry. Last year, needing to expand, Ford’s Western Canadian distribution centre left its building ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta's carbon tax nonsense By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 22, 2018

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci.Gavin Young / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS So the Alberta carbon tax is now in its second year of implementation. So far, it is doing next to nothing toward achieving this government’s extraordinarily expensive Climate Leadership Plan goals. So far, it is, as respected University of Calgary economic Jack Mintz says, just another “government tax-and-spend slush fund.” This tax is a miserable failure. It is adding dramatically to the cost of gas at the pump – 6.73 cents per litre hidden within the overall price per litre – without producing results. Vehicle dealerships are not reporting a dramatic shift from SUVs to sub-compacts. Most individuals cannot dramatically reduce their miles travelled. Gasoline sales have not dropped. It’s an especially cruel tax on home heating. It’s not like any home owner today can further renovate to  reduce the amount of natural gas used to heat our homes.  From Jan ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta NDP not an utter failure — here's why By GRAHAM HICKS first published Edmonton Sun, June 15, 2018

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is applauded at a press conference after speaking about the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, in Edmonton on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.Jason Franson / The Canadian Press By GRAHAM HICKS While admitting such may cause gagging and vomiting among those opposed to the current Alberta government, our moderate socialists have done a few good things. Ten good things about the Rachel Notley New Democrat government of Alberta. 1. Rachel Notley herself: In three years, Notley has built a remarkable reputation. Even the opposition leaders agree she is fair, principled, honest and hard-working. Her unequivocal support for the Trans Mountain pipeline has earned the grudging respect of the oil/gas industry. If the New Dems are re-elected next year, she’ll be the main reason why 2. Health Minister/Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman’s amazing statement – for a socialist – that money for social programs doesn’t grow on trees. Commenting on the western premiers&r ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: That Edmonton airport bus service By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, June 8, 2018

The ETS bus to Edmonton International Airport shown at the start of service in 2012.Bruce Edwards / Bruce Edwards By GRAHAM HICKS The ETS (Edmonton Transit Service) 747 bus route – from the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Century Park southern terminal to the Edmonton International Airport – is an evidence-based, practical measurement of the city/region/provincial commitment to urban transportation, tourism, and general efficiency. Any city worth its salt has user-friendly, inexpensive and modern public transit between its airport and downtown. Toronto is a North American leader for airport-to-downtown options. The very modern and efficient UP Train leaves every 15 minutes and provides 25-minute service from Pearson International to the downtown Union Station transport hub. The $12 fare ($6 for seniors and students) is heavily subsidized. Or, for $3.25, you can take a regular Toronto bus from the airport to the Kipling subway station, hence to downtown – about an hour and a b ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The bureaucratic delight of cannabis regulation By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, June 1, 2018

NewLeaf Cannabis is one of a number of companies that plan to open locations in Edmonton.AL Charest / Al Charest/Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS (Third of a three-part series on the ramifications of legal pot) So it was Saturday night on the acreage. Around the campfire a few joints were circulating. Your pals in halter-tops, tank-tops and ball caps were talking about the impending legalization of pot. Hey, they said, blinded by their brilliance. Let’s open a pot shop! I suppose … if among your pals was a lawyer, an accountant, a government-relations expert, a cannabis expert, a realtor, a seasoned retailer and plenty of investors. In reality, this horse has long left the barn.  The regulations surrounding the upcoming growing, distribution and selling of pot in Alberta are so complicated and laborious that amateurs need not apply — regulations by the federal government, regulations from the provincial government through the Alberta Gambling Liquor Cannabis ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: This gold rush is green By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 25, 2018

Trays of newly introduced mother plants at the Aurora Sky facility on February 5, 2018 at the Edmonton International Airport. Shaughn Butts / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS (Second of a three-part series on the ramifications of legal pot) Welcome to the green gold rush. In just a few months, Canada will be the first developed country in the world to fully legalize the growth, distribution and consumption of all cannabis products. A Deloitte study suggests recreational marijuana sales alone could be as high as $8.7 billion per year in Canada – like the sale of all alcoholic beverages (besides beer), and that’s just a start. Add all the support business (security, transport, processing, research) and the potential economic impact “approaches $23 billion.” Everybody’s speculating in this market which, other than medical marijuana, has yet to sell a penny of government-approved pot. The numbers around Aurora Cannabis, soon moving its headquarters from V ... Read the rest of entry »
Pages: Prev1234567...20NextReturn Top