HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: Good luck and farewell by GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, June 12, 2020

This is a momentous time. Some kind of new order – be it a correction, or a massive do-over – feels to be in the making, on many fronts: social, economic, geopolitical. The reaction to the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd feels quite different than after previous tragedies. A collective, visceral realization has happened. For too long have we overlooked, denied, downplayed the reality of being Black or Indigenous. If we are ever to live up to ideals of egalitarianism, we’d best humble down. A pile of internal and external attitude-changing remains to be done. On a global scale, the economic, social, and medical implications of the COVID pandemic are just beginning to take shape. The size of the mountain emerging out of the shadows is staggering. At home, our Alberta public health authorities have done a fine job, minimizing the virus outbreak through group action. STORY CONTINUES BELOW But now we face the cost of the pandemic. Jobs are gone, many not ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS: Racism is not gone from Edmonton By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, June 5, 2020

Thousands of people gathered in Calgary's Poppy Plaza to protest against racism and police brutality on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. The global protests were ignited after the death of George Floyd, who was killed by the police in Minneapolis.Azin Ghaffari / Postmedia, file Two steps forward, one step back. That is how long-time Indigenous advocate Lewis Cardinal describes Edmonton’s progress – and often lack thereof – in creating a sense of “belonging” within the city for its Indigenous residents. The topic comes up in the wake of the unprovoked murder of George Floyd, a black man, in the hands of Minneapolis police. Led by the Black Lives Matter movement, the incident has galvanized awareness of injustice to Americans (and Canadians) no matter their colour. They have realized racism is alive in North American culture …  and a younger generation has resolved to improve matters. Much as we would like to think otherwise –  as Cardinal says ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Pandemic spending could leave Edmonton feeling like Regina By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 30, 2020

The skyline of Regina, Sask. Graham Hicks warns the post-COVID world could alter Edmonton's standard of living to Regina-like levels.Edward Willett / Getty Images/Flickr RF The memory is still vivid. In 2003, as an Edmonton Sun columnist, I headed to Regina to report on the non-football side of that year’s Grey Cup. Which the Eskimos and Ricky Ray decisively won. What lingers is the image of Regina. It was like going back in time. Everything was neat and tidy, but the homes were smaller and the vehicles were older. STORY CONTINUES BELOW The downtown had a few middling-size office towers, all named after Saskatchewan crown corporations (companies owned by the province) or agricultural cooperatives. And the people were so nice!  They were not in a hurry. They had time to chat, a ready smile, a willingness to help. Edmonton with a population of 690,000 in 2003 was much wealthier and bigger than Regina, then with a population of 200,000. Even today, the d ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: De-carbonized oil the key to Alberta's future By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 22, 2020

TC Energy's Keystone pipeline facility in Hardisty, Alberta.Jeff McIntosh / The Associated Press Let us lay ourselves down a while and rest from this ceaseless doom ‘n’ gloom. Let’s have a chat with Ian MacGregor — the most creative and visionary mind in Alberta’s oilpatch, who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. MacGregor, through his company North West Refining, is a 50 per cent partner in the $10-billion Sturgeon Refinery located between Redwater and Fort Saskatchewan. He has so much skin in the game, it is amazing he has any hide left. And he’s been beat up real good. The refinery is brilliant, the first to convert Alberta bitumen (currently worth $30 a barrel) directly to diesel fuel (worth around $80 a barrel) to the tune of 40,000 barrels a day. STORY CONTINUES BELOW More important, the refinery has enabled the building of the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line. All its CO2 emissions are liquified under pressure, carried ... Read the rest of entry »