Crude Observations

Le Long Weekend

Ah, Friday May 20. May Long. The bestest long weekend of the year for us Canadians. For any number of reasons. Primarily it is the first long weekend of the year where we aren’t typically house bound. Secondly, because of history.


What history you ask? Well let me edumacate you.


We used to call it Victoria Day in honour of the birthday of Queen Victoria who ruled the Commonwealth for what, 250 years prior to Queen Elizabeth the Second and just after the 1500 year reign of Queen Elizabeth the First. I’m sure there was someone else in there, I seem to recall a few Georges. But I digress. Victoria Day. She was important.


Except in Quebec, where antipathy to the monarchy has always necessitated a need to celebrate a different day so it became rebranded there as Dollard Day (not to be confused with Dollar Days at Zellers), a celebration created by Lionel Groulx in the early 20th century to honour a dude named Adam Dollard Des Ormeaux, a French settler and explorer who ambushed and massacred the Iroquois just west of Ville Marie, which ultimately became Montreal. Oh, and he died in the battle.


Recognizing that celebrating this “martyr” was not consistent with, well, sensitivity to First Nations, the Quebec Government rebranded as the much less nationalistic and provocatively named Fête nationale des Patriotes or National Patriot’s Day celebrated exclusively in the “nation” of Quebec. While the “patriots” they celebrate are the precursors to the constitutionalists who collectively sought to bring about freedom from British Imperial rule, the true champion is Louis-Joseph Papineau who ultimately led an armed rebellion in 1837/8 (ironically the first year of the reign of, you guessed it – Queen Victoria). So as always,


And yes, everyone in this weird story is a Metro station or neighbourhood in Montreal, even Victoria.


At any rate, I digress. Here in the world at large, our collective memories have faded and as political erectness has become the flavour of the day, the whole thing morphed into “The May Long Weekend” and “the weekend Canadian teams get eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs” before eventually simply being branded as “May Long” which of course is Canadian shorthand for busting out the grill, going camping, planting flowers and gardening, leaving work early and otherwise whiling away the days on a patio/deck/whatever enjoying the first warm and sunny weekend of the transition to summer.


Ahh, I can feel it now (slowly turns his chair and looks out the window – I’m sure I can see the sun through this… Snow?!?! What?).


Yeah, that’s how it works here in Calgary. The odds of having garbage weather on this particular weekend are extraordinarily high. So much so that people count on it. In fact, we laugh uproariously at those poor suckers who were fooled by last weekend’s incredible weather.


At any rate, here’s what’s happening with me today.


Our internet at work is out for the third consecutive day (FU Shaw). I have a bunch of appointments today, I want to go to the gym, I am going to the hockey game tonight and I want to get out of the office early because hey, it’s the long weekend – AMIRITE?


Internet? Yes, I know. I am sure we paid our bill. We used one of our cryptocurrencies – we have lots. Want to hear about them? They haven’t all gone belly up…




Deriving its name from a famous Canadian holiday weekend with predictably, unpredictable weather, this coin provides users with the ability to transact across a dedicated blockchain network. As a uniquely Canadian coin, there is a limited amount of coin available, but this crypto isn’t obtained by mining as most coins are, rather the code for the coin is written under the cap of every second beer produced in Canada in the three weeks leading up to May Long. It is expected that the warmer the weather or the more depressed Leafs fans become, the more beer will be consumed and the more coins will be uncovered. It is entirely possible that the entire float of this currency will be in circulation by Monday.




This coin derives its value from the ups and downs in the political fortunes of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (he’s still premier right?), otherwise known as the hardest working politician in CanadaTM (more on him below). While it certainly peaked in value after the 2019 election and it is currently in lame duck mode, you probably shouldn’t discount it too much. A classic long/short strategy on this coin is to offset it with Trudeaucoin.





Not a bona fide crypto, SkippyCoin is a series of NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens) inspired by the tweets, videos and memes of Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre. At any rate, these one of a kind SkippyCpoin NFTs will feature various incarnations of Poilievre using props to illustrate economically uninformed and generally incorrect concepts about such things as inflation, money printing, inflation, money printing and inflation. The exclusive “Justinflation money printing piece of wood” NFT is so far the most valuable as it also includes a “sound token” of PP saying “that’s justinflation”.





Gascoin is newly issued coin that seeks to trade off the elevated price of gasoline across North America. More specifically, Gascoin is tethered to the fear index which is a derivative that tracks the level of angst  about high gas prices and is affected by such things as interviews with confused motorists in the GTA, politicians publishing pictures of gas pump prices on their Twitter accounts, accusations of gouging and proposals for windfall taxes. Using Minecraft as a way to unlock these coins, users enter a secure virtual world through a portal and are required to mine for and pursue a group of highly elusive villagers, creepers and endermen. Each of these “mobs” will be carrying a garbage bag which may or may not contain gasoline. When they corner a mob with a bag, they have to use redstone blow up the bag. If it contains gasoline, it will have a larger explosion which will unlock a coin and code that the user can then save to digital wallet. Once 100 coins are collected they become tradeable on the exchange. The amount of Gascoin available is as yet unknown so you probably have to play the game forever.





The brainchild of none other than Murray Edwards of “$1.38 billion in Q1 profits CNRL” fame, bitucoin is a new entrant into the commodity “themed” altcoin market. To unlock value in bitucoin, miners must travel to northern Alberta and get into a “excavator” which they use to “dig” through dirt and scoops giant piles of black, sticky goo into giant transport trucks that then take the goo to a “processing facility” where it is heated and separated into bitucoin and tailings. The bitucoin is then measured as a virtual barrel and then transferred via the exclusive bitucoin blockchain known as the “pipeline” until it hits the users virtual wallet as a “barrel” of bitucoin. The supply of bitucoin is finite and as a commodity-modelled crypto the pricing will be volatile, but we are confident that the virtual/crypto version will ultimately be much more valuable than the physical one.




This one is pretty straightforward. Eloncoin derives its value from the volume of attention Elon Musk is receiving at any point in time and on any media platform – social or otherwise. There is directional value attribution dependant on the nature of the attention, it’s just volume. Eloncoin’s value of course is inversely correlated with the running odds of Elon closing his deal to buy Twitter so traders are forewarned. I believe it is also a stable coin, so it is tethered to the value of Tesla shares, although it is rumoured that a volatility swap has been sold on those shares. It could get ugly. Truth is, I would avoid this one.





Building on the concept of scarcity in the physical supply chain, the Wingcoin was introduced as a result of last year’s chicken wing shortage. While completely unthinkable, it is a reasonable outcome of our bizarre North American obsession with crispy chicken sandwiches. Wingcoin’s value is benchmarked to the Biden administration’s recently announced Strategic Chicken Wing Reserve (SCWR) which is a 600 million pound store of frozen chicken wings held in a secret location in an ice cave in the far north of Alaska. Wingcoin miners are able to unlock coins by participating in virtual chicken wing eating contests with prizes awarded based on a heat absorption measurement derived from the Scoville Scale. Once coins are unlocked and put in a virtual wallet, they can be exchanged for single plates of wings at participating restaurants. The value of the coin thus rises and falls with the price of a plate of wings. With a full two more months of NHL and NBA playoffs still to come, the time to buy Wingcoin is now. Oh, and as it regards the SCWR, in order to address the escalating price of wings, Biden has agreed to draw this down by 180 million pounds.





This is the purest of the new cryptos and distills down cryptocurrency and NFTs to their truest form.


Here’s how it works.


You send me money – the amount doesn’t matter.


In exchange, I will send you a code. That code will unlock a Stucoin that you can store in a virtual wallet or on an exchange of some sort. If you can find someone to buy that from you or exchange a service for it, more power to you. If you can’t? Thanks for the money.



There you go. Long weekend silliness. Don’t forget to send me money. Have a great weekend.


Now I’m going home.



Oh wait, I promised something on Jason Kenney. Here goes.



Jason Kenney – See ya suckers!


So the results of the leadership review are in and with 51.4% of the vote, Jason Kenney got his majority, but he decided it wasn’t enough and announced he was going to step down as leader of the UCP so that a leadership race could be held. In the meantime, an interim leader (Jason Kenney) will guide the party to the leadership race that Jason Kenney may participate in.


Clear? Thought so.


So – how did we get here?


Well this result was telegraphed quite a while back and the machinations that got us to this point are both fascinating and Machiavellian.


As anyone who has paid attention to Alberta politics (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?) over the past several years will know, Jason Kenney has been one of the most polarizing provincial leaders in memory. Maybe in history! Part of this is him. Part of this is the unholy alliance he struck to create the United Conservative Party, that is the combination of the decidedly hard right leaning Wild Rose party and the remains of the squishy liberalesque Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.


These two parties were never going to coexist easily, but each “sacrificed” their purity in order to achieve power and to kick Rachel Notley and the dreaded NDP communists to the curb.


This victory and unification will go down as the highlight of Jason Kenney’s political career so far because as everyone knows – once you are in power, it’s no longer about the race and the win, it’s all about the governing. And the governing has been decidedly not highlight reel material.


While 2019 was a tough year with the energy sector still in the doldrums, there was still a chance for political recovery until COVID came. And it was the pandemic that ultimately undid Jason Kenney because it exposed for all to see the fissures in the UCP ranks as the party split into a patchwork of urban vs rural; vax vs anti-vax; mask vs no mask; lock down vs freedumb; celebrate Drs and science vs internet conspiracy theory; wild rose vs PC; grass roots rights  vs top down imperium factions; Jameson’s vs Alberta Premium; trips abroad vs staying home; rules for me vs rules for thee; tax cuts vs spending cuts; (I could go on for ever) that tore the party apart from the inside.


Ultimately, the early leadership vote was forced – with Kenney squeezed by both flanks of the party.


It is a historic fall from grace for someone renowned as the hardest working politician in CanadaTM, but the writing had been on the wall for some time. Never really all that popular to begin with, his popularity and approval ratings have been abysmal during the pandemic. I noticed a poll recently that his approval rating had risen somewhat over the last few months yet still lagged that of Justin Trudeau. In Alberta. Think about that for a moment.


His biggest failing may be that he was unable to port his master strategist rep from organizing/winning to governing. His failure to read the room and adapt to Alberta’s wacky political realities sealed his fate.


Jason Kenney was a tremendous organizer, an incredibly well-informed policy wonk but ultimately was unable to expand his base. All evidence and rumour suggests that instead of a consensus builder he was instead vengeful and petty to his detractors and lacked judgement in many key decisions, apparently in many cases due to his own hubristic belief in his own infallibility.



What does it mean for Alberta?


The jury is out on this one. A lot will depend on how Mr Kenney decides to orchestrate his ultimate exit.


Traditionally, the outgoing leader steps aside for an interim leader that is precluded from running in the leadership race. Stepping down by not stepping down raises a lot of questions.


By staying on in this role, does he preclude himself from running for the spot he technically still holds? Does he think he is going to run again? Is he reserving the right to change his mind about resigning when the emotions die down? Is he hanging on because he has a Stampede breakfast to host? Maybe he is counting on an Alberta team winning the Stanley Cup and he wants to be the Grand Marshal of the victory parade? How long will caucus tolerate this uncertainty? Do they have the political will to do anything about it if it becomes untenable? WITAF is going on?


From an outside perspective, all I can say is that markets, investors and the world in general hates uncertainty. Who is going to be the next leader? They will have to be in place and ready to take on an empowered and confident NDP party led by a popular former premier. The longer it takes to put that person in place, the more difficult the battle will be.


In the meantime, companies and businesses have decisions to make and with this uncertainty, these will instead be decisions to defer. So the Alberta economic recovery loses yet another year. That’s 9 and counting from 2014. Enough already.


So, by not doing a clean break, my own personal opinion is that Jason Kenney is now holding the province hostage to some form of scheme about his own political ambitions. And that is wrong.


If you’re out, you’re out. Move on. We’ve got this.


Be comforted by the fact that with the passage of time, aside from the major gaffes, much of the policy you implemented was actually pretty good. But that’s all you get. You don’t get a do-over. If we want to screw it up after you’re gone and put Danielle Smith in charge or Brian Jean or any of the possible candidates you don’t like, that’s our problem. Not yours.


Hanging around is ultimately going to be bad for your legacy and it’s going to be bad for Alberta.


Don’t make us into a laughingstock.


That’s Doug Ford’s job.



Crude Observations
Sign up for the Stormont take on the latest industry news »

Recent Posts