HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: Alberta's debt is not Ralph Klein's fault BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 06, 2015

Quit blaming Ralph! How do you like these headlines of late? From Calgary Herald columnist Naomi Lakritz, published across Canada: “Ralph Klein not NDP Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to blame for budget woes.” Or from Ricardo Acuna, executive director of the Parkland Institute, in a guest column in the Calgary Herald: “Klein’s policies got us into this mess.” They argue it’s all ex-Premier Ralph Klein’s fault that the current ND government must plunge back in debt to keep our economy from going to hell in a hand bucket. Ralph’s zealous cost-cutting from 1993 to 2006 landed us in our current pickle – Ralph slashed hospital beds, fired nurses and teachers! Roads weren’t built! Hospitals and schools weren’t built! We are, according to Acuna, “still working to recover” from Ralph’s axe. Get over it! Ralph’s serious deficit-slaying days were from 1993 to 1997. Twenty years ago! For goodness sake, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks`Weekly Dish: Fresh Fit Foods challenge a success BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2015

For three weeks, with Garner Andrews (Sonic FM), J’Lyn Nye (CHED), Gillian Foote (The Bear), Chris Sheetz (CISN), Matt DeBeurs (CISN), Matt Chalut (The Bounce), Liann Cameron (The Bounce), Ashley Sexsmith (Kula Klips), publicist Donna Zazulak, Wendy Mueller, Deb Jakubec (Canadian Diabetes Association) nd Chris Reeve (Edmonton Child Magazine), I have stayed within a carefully designed, 1,800 calories-a-day nutrition program with all the food (three meals and two snacks a day) coming from the Fresh Fit Foods’ kitchen. As part of the Media Challenge, thanks to Fresh Fit’s sister company World Health, we have all had three sessions per week with a personal trainer. I’ve been exercising an hour a day, six days a week, be it in the gym (resistance), running or biking (cardio) or yoga (stretching). It’s safe to say the results and the attitude adjustments have been an eye-opener. Those endless messages about eating a big breakfast, avoiding sugar and deep-fried food, eating lea ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Will Alberta end up like Greece? BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2015

When reading about the latest provincial, federal or municipal budget, do your eyes not glaze over about three paragraphs in? None of us can see beyond our own noses. No serious tax increases are in the new Alberta ND government’s 2015-2016 budget. Good. The 20 per cent of Edmontonians who work in the public or quasi-public sector can breathe easy. No lay-offs, no salary reductions. The New Democrats will not cut the civil service, the health system or public education. Good. Good – now, back to the real world. How’s McDavid doing with the Oilers? Oh, the government’s going into serious debt. Who cares! Why worry? The average Ontarian doesn’t care about his/her provincial government’s $300 billion debt and it’s way worse than ours. The annual interest Ontario pays on its debt is “only” $11 billion, or a little under 10% of its latest $125 billion budget. Jolene and Joe Average couldn’t care less about what the ND are doing in ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Fresh Fit Foods Challenge, Week 2 BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2015

Nobody said the Fresh Fit Foods’ intensive three-week nutrition and exercise “re-set” would be easy. The first four days of the 21 Day Media Challenge, in which I am a participant, were euphoric. Last Thursday, my body hummed with health, as if cleansed by the re-portioned, pre-cooked Fresh Fit individual meals that feature proteins, nutrient-dense carbohydrates and fresh veggies. I wasn’t feeling hungry at all. World Health personal trainer Jessi Zelinsky is pushing me in exercise sessions and my body loves it. Exercise is highly recommended as part of the 21 Day Challenge. Fresh Fit Foods is a sister company to the World Health gym group. But then, just as Fresh Fit Foods’ nutritionist Laura Swan had warned me, over the weekend a few hours of hunger set in. This is natural, she said. With an accelerated six-day-a-week program of running, resistance training and yoga, my calorie burn-rate has been greater than the carefully constructed 1,800 calories per day I am ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Big cities not respecting public purse BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2015

Wednesday’s “Cities and the Future of Canada“ annual Hurtig Lecture at the University of Alberta featured Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. The evening has to be analyzed in the context of the seismic shift in political attitude that happened in Canada last Monday. I was expecting practical, down-to-earth thoughts from these two, both considered leaders of a new wave of Canadian politics where big-city mayors get the same face time and respect as  provincial and federal leaders. And, being old school – witness my woeful misreading of Alberta sentiment as national sentiment in predicting a bare-majority Conservative government last week – I thought there’d be more concern from these two on how to pay for the updated Canadian urban agenda. Wrong again. The presentations, then discussion by these two mayors – intellectually heads ‘n’ shoulders above your average politician – were in the philosophical and politic ... Read the rest of entry »

Graham Hicks jumps into Fresh Fit Foods' 21 Day Challenge BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2015

To review restaurants on a weekly basis is, yes, a dream assignment. Any whining -having to eat out, tiring of rich foods -would be silly in the extreme. But my weight has sneaking up -from 155 pounds a few years back, to 160, to 165, and, as of Monday, 169 pounds. At 5 foot, 5 inches, I'm porky. My clothes still fit, but the gut is hanging over the belt. So when Fresh Fit Foods invited local media personalities to participate in its 21 Day Challenge, I jumped at the chance. BOLD BUSINESS Fresh Fit Foods is a bold business venture by World Health Club owner David Hardy and partners, a bet that Edmontonians want to be pro-active about their health, that in this deep-fryer world of cream, cheese, fats and sugars here, there and everywhere, we need not look and feel like blimps. From a commercial kitchen beside the Glenora World Health club, Fresh Fit Foods produces individual meals and snacks that can be purchased on-line and picked up at any of the 10 World Health clubs in Metro Edmonton. The ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: He's unlikable, but Stephen Harper will again be prime minister, with a majority BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2015

He’s going to win. On Monday night, Stephen Harper and his Conservatives will be re-elected for a fourth term, with a majority government. A bare majority government, mind you, 170 of 338 ridings. (In 2011, The Conservatives won 166 of 308 ridings.) He’ll win, because almost all Canadians who describe themselves as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” will continue to vote for his party. We’ll hold our noses while we vote. Harper the control freak – muzzling scientists and his own members of parliament, dissing the country’s top judge, ramming omnibus bills through Parliament, black-balling anybody who opposes him – is thoroughly unlikeable. I’m disappointed in what has not been done. He has given up on Senate reform, on smaller government, on tax-filing reform, on CO2 emission gestures. He’s lost interest in modernizing our military. The recession-fighting Building Canada Fund is now a Conservative slush fund. But &helli ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Tofu House offers excellent Korean cuisine BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2015

Tofu House Korean Restaurant 5020-97 St. 780-989-0804 Facebook, no website Seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Sunday 11:30 a.m. opening) Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $25; loaded, $40 I guess they don’t need to advertise, when two-thirds of the large Tofu House was taken up by a funeral party and the balance of the Korean restaurant was respectably full for Saturday lunch. But how sad. This very good, authentic Korean restaurant is unknown outside its Asiatic, mostly Chinese clientele. On the south side, Tofu House is at 51 Avenue and 97 Street in a former Swiss Chalet. The interior isn’t going to win design awards. The Swiss Chalet naugahyde remains unchanged. Nobody pays much attention to customer service. Inadequate English was an issue with several servers. But the Korean food is excellent, the best I’ve had in Edmonton. Don’t be put off by the name. This is n ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Suncor’s $4.4 billion 'hostile' takeover bid for Canadian Oil Sands is a good thing BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 09, 2015

Suncor’s $4.4 billion “hostile” takeover bid for Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. isn’t about the Canadian Oil Sands. It’s about a far more intriguing subject – control of Syncrude. Along with CNRL and Shell, Suncor and Syncrude are the Big Four of Alberta’s oil sands production companies. Syncrude is actually owned by a consortium of oil companies. Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil (Imperial Oil is owned by ExxonMobil) is a 25% shareholder. Suncor owns 12%. Syncrude’s single biggest shareholder, at 37%, is Canadian Oil Sands Ltd.  The Syncrude shares are Canadian Oil Sands Ltd’s only asset. It’s an investment company, 100% invested in its Syncrude ownership position. Let’s go back in time:  When oil sands production finally became profitable – in the mid ‘90s – the Syncrude ownership group left its management team, led by Eric Newell and then Jim Carter, alone. Newell and Carter were ahead of their time in recognizing the n ... Read the rest of entry »

Citadel Theatre production of Evangeline the musical surpasses all expectations: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Evangeline Book, lyrics and music by Ted Dykstra Directed by Bob Baker Citadel Theatre, Edmonton Canada, to Nov. 22, 2015 Ticket information Review by GRAHAM HICKS What’s on at the Citadel Theatre for the next two weeks until Nov. 22, 2025, has a real good shot at being a Broadway hit in a few years. Dare to dream in technicolour. Evangeline could emerge as a hot Hollywood property, a Disney-style animated movie in the tradition of Beauty & the Beast and Pocahontas. If I’m a Broadway producer, I’m looking for: A great love story: • Evangeline is one of the best. Lovers tragically separated, spending their lives looking for one another. Great tunes: • Evangeline is full of them. Happy, happy: • Multiple scenes of happy village folks leading the idyllic life, singin’ and dancin’ to beat the band. Sad, sad:  • Tragedy and mayhem besets the villagers and the hard-luck lovers at every turn. Struggles are endured, emotions are deeply scar ... Read the rest of entry »