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Category: Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz: Alberta election proof of civility's decline By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 5, 2019

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley, Alberta Liberal Party Leader David Khan, Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel and United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.File / Postmedia Why has the rhetoric of fear and loathing crept deeply into this provincial election? There once was a deep journalism dictum. Criticize the action, not the person. Criticize what a person says or promotes, not the person himself/herself. The two main antagonists in this election, Premier Rachel Notley and opposition leader Jason Kenney, have more-or-less subscribed to this convention. They hammer at each other over policy differences but have not (yet) descended to personal attacks. STORY CONTINUES BELOW But both have allowed their campaigns to indulge in, to actually trumpet, personal attacks. The website thetruthaboutJasonKenney.ca, is a rabid, pit-bull personal attack on Kenney openly sponsored by the Alberta New Democrats. It’s the first highly-publicized “official&rdqu ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: It's about government debt, stupid! By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN, March 29, 2019

Premier Rachel Notley.Ed Kaiser / Postmedia Trying to track the real costs of election promises is a fool’s game. For every spending promise made in this provincial election, there’s some hypothetical, unprovable financial justification. Take Rachel Notley’s daycare promise: In return for the government’s social investment of $1.5 billion over five years in daycare subsidies, the daycare program will “add $6 billion to Alberta’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).” Where the $6 billion figure comes from is anybody’s guess. Theoretically, a daycare worker with a bigger pay cheque tips his/her server an extra buck, who in turn buys a chocolate bar from a 7-Eleven clerk, who in turn gets a raise for selling more chocolate bars … Then there’s reality. When Notley and her party ran in 2015, they promised to balance the annual provincial government budget within five years. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Five years later, Fina ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Which way will you vote? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, March 22, 2019

Rachel Notley (L) and Jason Kenney (R). As we finally head to the polls on April 16 for Alberta’s 30th provincial election, most commentators have written off Rachel Notley and her New Democratic Party (NDP) — the “accidental government” as they are oft derided, propelled into power only because of the collapse of the 44-year Progressive Conservative dynasty in 2015. But in politics … anything can happen. The most logical predictor I can think of is to start with a review of contrasting political values. How does an Albertan inclined to vote for the NDP think? Let’s call them socialist-leaning liberals. How about somebody likely to vote for the United Conservative Party (UCP)? Let’s simply call him or her a conservative. STORY CONTINUES BELOW This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. At the heart of the socialist-liberal/conservative tug-of-war is the emphasis placed on either the individual o ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Just the Remedy for a long winter By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 15, 2019

Zee Zaidi, proprietor of the ever-growing Remedy Cafe chain, shows off his "chai factory" in the kitchen of his original 109 St. outlet. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton By GRAHAM HICKS For the longest time, just one Remedy Café/Chai Bar graced our town, a comfy hang-out to meet friends and sip on something besides Starbucks/Second Cup/Tim Horton’s coffee. For 13 years, owner Zee Zaidi appeared content with that one Remedy Cafe. It was in a great location on 109 Street across from the Garneau Theatre, close to the University of Alberta and Old Strathcona. Then, in 2013, a second Remedy Café opened downtown, on Jasper Avenue at 103 Street. Then a third — on 124 Street, a fourth — on Whyte Avenue near 104 Street, a fifth – near Terwillegar Towne and a sixth — in Southgate Mall. STORY CONTINUES BELOW You can’t turn around these days, without seeing the distinctive, bright yellow and red Remedy Café/Chai Bar sign. The bigg ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The death of the pine beetle ... or not? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 8, 2019

The needles of pine trees infected by the mountain pine beetle turn red before the tree dies, as visible on Whistlers Mountain in Jasper National Park on July 12, 2018.Janet French / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS One or two weeks, they kept telling us. One or two weeks of blistering cold weather would knock the dreaded pine beetle back on its collective butt. The billions, if not trillions of rice-sized varmints overwintering in our forests were supposed to freeze to a well-deserved death, as the deep cold penetrated into the inner bark off of which the  beetles feed. Well? Well? We just had the coldest February on record for the past 40 years! STORY CONTINUES BELOW Are the pine beetles frozen toast?  In the Battle of Alberta, will the pine beetles be stopped in their current occupied territory — an arc of infected forest swinging from Grande Prairie to Slave Lake to Whitecourt, over to Hinton and Jasper National Park? Umm … ahh … mayb ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton — air-cargo gateway to Asia By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 22, 2019

The airport tower at Edmonton International Airport.Greg Southam / Edmonton Journal By GRAHAM HICKS Two weeks ago this column told the story of how the Edmonton International Airport (EIA), in the late-’90s, overcame internal conflict (consolidating two airports into one) and the indifference, if not outright hostility, to its very existence from the airline industry itself. Courageous decisions made 20 years ago are being splendidly reaped today. The EIA is Canada’s fifth biggest (in total passengers) airport. Our “Airport City” has become a powerful wealth generator/economic driver for all Northern Alberta. Today, in more supportive circumstances, similar long-sighted EIA decisions are being made. Worldwide air cargo has magnificent growth potential. Customers around the world demand faster delivery of high-value products. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Readying for the next 20 years, the Edmonton airport authority sees itself ideally positioned as a ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta's restaurant crisis By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 15, 2019

Labour Minister Christina Gray watches worker Shawn Mohammed make her donair after speaking with co-owner Adil Asim of Prime Time Donair & Kabab, to discuss recent changes to Alberta's employment standards in downtown Edmonton, January 23, 2018. Ed Kaiser/PostmediaEd Kaiser Ed Kaiser / Ed Kaiser/Postmedia It won’t go down in Alberta political history as the gaffe on which turned the as-yet-uncalled 2019 provincial election. But, to my mind, the Rachel Notley government pounded some final nails into its coffin this past Tuesday. Labour Minister Christina Gray deliberately snubbed an emergency meeting here in Edmonton, called by the Restaurants Canada association and entitled “Restaurant Realities: Raising Our Voice In Alberta.” Gray was scheduled to speak, alongside opposition party leaders Jason Kenney and Stephen Mandel who did address the restaurant-owner crowd. But Gray’s office informed the organizers the day before that Gray had to attend to a “pres ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Flying high at Edmonton International Airport By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 8, 2019

Westjet and Air Canada aircraft are seen on the apron at Edmonton International Airport in Nisku, Alberta on Monday, September 18, 2017.Ian Kucerak / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS In this “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” world, we forget that today’s prosperity was built upon courageous decisions made in the past. That tomorrow’s well-being depends on decisions  made today. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present you with astounding proof of past courageous decisions. Edmonton International Airport and  its amazing “Airport City” are dynamic and thriving.  Hundreds of growing industrial and service companies are located here because of the airport’s ever-growing cargo and passenger capabilities. Yesterday’s decisions: In the early ’90s, Edmonton’s aviation sector was a mess. The “International Airport” was barely functional, with next-to-no American or international flights. STORY CONTINUES BELOW ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Green spending lunacy By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 1, 2019

Solar panels are seen in this 2014 file photo.Mike Hensen / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS Elise Stolte writes a civic affairs column in The Edmonton Journal. This past week, occasioned by city hall’s decision to top up a provincial rebate for home solar-panel installations and other energy-conservation measures, she reviewed the labyrinth of provincial and municipal rebates amounting to an enormous 40 per cent subsidy, at least on solar panel installations. Her column concluded that such rebates — affecting 625 of 300,000 properties in Edmonton — have little if any effect on the City of Edmonton’s greenhouse gas  reduction targets. She had a few alternative suggestions — all government dependent. This whole business — not Stolte’s column, but the profligate spending of billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars to allegedly fight global warming with so little results — gets my blood boiling. Governments,  STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY!!!! ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: To build or not to build more hotels in downtown Edmonton By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, January 25, 2019

A preliminary design of the new hotel development underway in the former Enbridge Tower. The 23-storey building was purchased by Lighthouse Hospitality Management Inc. at the end of April.Edmonton By GRAHAM HICKS Before Christmas, a public relations company invited a bunch of movers and shakers to the Edmonton Convention Centre. On behalf of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), the PR folks floated a “what if” trial balloon. How about a new, convention-oriented hotel on the Convention Centre’s west side, glued on the existing building as to insulate conventioneers from -25C daytime highs? An intriguing notion – but not for 20 or 30 years. In fact, it’s blatantly obvious why such a hotel is not currently needed. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Between now and 2021, four brand-new ritzy hotels will open in the downtown – expanding the number of quality hotel rooms within walking distance of the Convention Centre by over one-third, from ... Read the rest of entry »
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