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Category: Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

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 »

Hicks on Biz: On legalized weed, sky-high's the limit for consumption options By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN May 18, 2018

File.Getty Images By GRAHAM HICKS Baby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Pot – marijuana, cannabis – will be legalized in Canada in a matter of months. Over a few pints of our current mood-altering drug of choice, the old guys’ drinking club was discussing whether we’d try pot again, once it was legal.  In the late ‘60s, we took a toke or two … maybe a thousand. But that was 40 years ago! To a one, we said no thanks, not at this point in our lives. Nathan Mison, VP of stakeholder relations for the Edmonton-based future marijuana retailer Fire & Flower, gives a wry chuckle. Mison’s point?  The unwashed Canadian public hasn’t the least notion how wide-ranging the uses, and choices, of recreational, medical and therapeutic cannabis will be. “Let’s start with two active cannabis ingredients, CBD – cannabidiol oil – and THC – tetrahydrocannabinol,” says Nathan.  “THC gets you ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: ATB's Dave Mowat — Yes he did! By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 11, 2018

ATB Financial president Dave Mowat.Codie McLachlan / Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun By GRAHAM HICKS Dave Mowat has been ATB Financial’s CEO and President since 2007. Retiring in June, Mowat is unarguably Alberta’s best-known and most visible CEO. Mowat is that rarest of beasts:  A well-liked, amiable, even humble corporate and community leader, yet likely the most dynamic CEO that ATB, a venerable government-owned financial institution, has ever seen. ATB Financial’s marketing department took advantage of Mowat’s media-friendly personality.  His smiling mug advertised ATB’s services in newspapers, billboards, TV and all over social media. Who can forget Dave smiling at the camera, pointing his finger and saying “Who banks on Alberta’s future? We Do!” Most of ATB Financial’s excellent long-term performance (from $20.3 billion in assets in 2007 to $49.6 billion in 2018, from 600,000 to 750,000 customers, currently 5,000 employ ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Is Big Oil slip-sliding away in Alberta? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: May 4, 2018

Stacks from the Petro-Canada Refinery rise above the Enbridge Oil Tank Farm in Sherwood Park, Ab.Colleen De Neve / Calgary Herald, file By GRAHAM HICKS There will be no dramatic cleaning out of Enbridge or TransCanada’s Calgary corporate headquarters, no fleet of moving vans heading down the American I-25 highway in a near straight line from Calgary through Denver to Houston. But until Canadian governments realize wealth creation is as important as the environment,  gender imbalance and social justice, Alberta’s major pipeline building companies will slip-slide away to the U.S. It won’t be dramatic. It never is. Corporations don’t want bad-news headlines. But Enbridge and TransCanada build pipelines. Major pipelines are not being built in Canada. Pipelines are being built in the U.S. Funny thing about doing business.  You go where the work is. Both TransCanada and Enbridge are going where the work is, via major acquisitions. In 2016, TransCan ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Businesses are slip-slidin' away from Alberta to the U.S. By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: April 27, 2018

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta.Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press By GRAHAM HICKS As pipelines are stalled, as Canadian regulations overwhelm, as federal/Alberta corporate taxes increase, as “climate challenge” costs (i.e. carbon tax) mount up … Edmonton energy companies are slip-sliding away to the more business-friendly USA. It’s business, says Hi-Kalibre Equipment boss Patrick Rabby.  His company, in a southeast Edmonton industrial park, employs 100 workers, manufacturing specialty anti-blow-out valves for drilling rigs. The energy business in Canada is down. The energy business in the U.S. is booming. In Canada, stymied by environmental extremists, bottlenecks in the pipeline system are not being addressed. In the U.S., pipeline bottlenecks are being addressed. In Canada, stymied by environmental extremists and over-regulation, liquefied natural gas (LNG) ports to export natural gas are ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Ice District delivered as promised By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 20, 2018

By GRAHAM HICKS On May 6, 2010, The Katz Group/Oilers held an open house at the Art Gallery of Alberta, at which the Ice District vision for the downtown was unveiled. Much of it was scoffed at, indeed ridiculed. Pie-in-the-sky, over-ambitious, too big and grandiose for little ol’ Edmonton. That richie rich Oilers owner Daryl Katz was out to rob the taxpayer. Yes sir, he was going to stuff his face with taxpayers’ money. Well here we are, eight years later. Everything has been delivered as promised. Rogers Place is more attractive and has more amenities than was originally proposed. The JW Marriott hotel and condo tower has been topped off at 56 stories, the Stantec Tower continues to grow to its majestic 69 stories, to be Canada’s tallest office tower west of Toronto. The actual Ice District and Rogers Place Arena, once buildings are complete. The original Ice District and arena land was all parking lots. The power of address:  Most of the 264 condos abo ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Many want us to think otherwise, but the world is a cleaner place By GRAHAM HICKS, first published April 5, 2018

Pipes are seen at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain facility in Edmonton, Alta., Thursday, April 6, 2017. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says a B.C. court decision on the Trans-Mountain pipeline is a definitive victory. The federal court of appeal on Friday dismissed the B.C. government's bid to appeal a National Energy Board ruling that allowed Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass local bylaws during construction.JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS By Graham Hicks With little government regulation, the USA’s overall greenhouse gas emissions have been dropping. The USA is now expected to meet its Paris greenhouse gas reduction commitments – despite having torn up that agreement last year. Why?  Market forces! Utility companies can make more money converting coal-burning electricity plants to natural gas. There’s so much natural gas, it’s so easy to produce, it’s cheaper to burn than coal and it burns far cleaner than coal. In the mid-2000s, 50% of American el ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Sale of Edmonton company CCI Thermal a big deal By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 29, 2018

Harold Roozen is the founder of CCI Thermal Technologies. File photoLarry Wong / EDMONTON JOURNAL By Graham Hicks Historically, business in Edmonton is conducted with discretion, privacy and civility. Those qualities are in marked contrast to Calgary’s boisterous, extroverted big-money business sector – at least until the Great Humbling of 2015 and 2016. Edmontonians, no matter their wealth, don’t drive flashy cars. The most ostentatious vehicles on our roads are Range Rovers, Mercedes roadsters or Beemers. Other than Daryl Katz’s mega-mansion overlooking Hawrelak Park, fine homes in this town are inconspicuous – hidden on acreages or in cul-de-sacs, surrounded by trees. Showing off is just not part of the culture. It makes sense, therefore, that the sale of privately-owned, Edmonton-based CCI Thermal to American industrial-heating giant Thermon Heating Systems, for an eyebrow-lifting, all-cash $258 million Cdn, was barely publicized. But it is a BIG DEAL, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: When it comes to transportation in Edmonton, stick to the tried, true and inexpensive By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 23, 2018

Edmonton transit buses make their way along 104 Avenue. File photoDavid Bloom / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS Gondolas!  NO! Prototype Magnetic-Levitation LRT!  NOOOOO! Bombardier’s Advanced Rapid Transit (Vancouver’s SkyTrain)!   Maybe, but NOT NOW! BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)!  PROBABLY! Smart roads! Smaller vehicles! Cleaner vehicles! And, one day, driverless vehicles! YES !  But by then I will be mouldering in my low-density urban grave. Hasn’t Edmonton city council and its senior management learned anything from the dismal failure of our broken-down Cadillac waste management system, from the not-fully operational NAIT LRT line, from  bridges built years behind schedule, from the soon-to-be financial fiasco of Blatchford? Don’t wing it with unproven technology!!! Use reliable and cost-effective technologies … like, golly, highways and private vehicles. Like old-fashioned buses! As the public hearings on expanding ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton’s broken-down Cadillac waste management system by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 16, 2018

A contract worker sorts paper at the Edmonton recycling facility.Ed Kaiser / Postmedia By Graham Hicks Rarely has a city felt so betrayed, so let down, by one of its own departments. City Auditor David Wiun’s recently released audit of the Waste Services Branch is one of the most damning City of Edmonton public reports ever released. The once world-famous City of Edmonton Waste Services Branch had been fudging its reports, its numbers were not to be believed, its management culture had become “independent” (i.e. gone rogue), equipment and facilities were (and are) falling apart …   Waste Services has hopelessly failed in its long-touted goal of diverting 90% of waste from landfill. The best the city had done was diverting 49.5% of residential garbage in 2013, and had since been getting worse, down to 35.7% in 2016. Most of our garbage continues to be hauled to a landfill site near Ryley, 80 kilometres away. Nobody knows how much – or where &nda ... Read the rest of entry »