Crude Observations

Turkey Day 2022

Another week of perfect Calgary fall weather in the books and here we are, Thanksgiving Weekend. That special time of year where we as Canadians take stock of the hand that has been dealt us and enumerate all the ways we feel thankful for being able to live in what could be the greatest country on earth, if we weren’t so addicted to mediocrity.


But I digress. That is in fact just my own oft-voiced opinion and many people disagree with me, which is fair, since polite disagreement is the foundation for discussion, understanding and compromise. Or something like that. I’d also like to apologize for being late with the blog. It’s a travel weekend and we are currently in the Big Smoke to celebrate Thanksgiving and visit with family.


Which brings me of course to the theme of this week’s blogging, that most turkey of days, Canadian Thanksgiving wherein Canadians from coast to coast to coast gather together with family and friends and have a few bevvies, eat a fabulous meal and generally socialize and have a good time unless of course there is a pandemic or a UCP leadership race, in which case we all huddle in terror, alone in our houses, frightened by the sound of the weakest of coughs, the smallest post-nasal drip or the dreaded post result phone-call from a Danielle Smith campaign worker.


In our case, we are across the country. Not watching the Jays, since even I have a limit on ticket prices. Instead we are doing a traditional Thanksgiving, secure in our vaccines and test kits at the ready.


And since this year there is no glory cooking required of me, I have a blog to write. And as usual, I have spent a few minutes gathering my thoughts and soberly contemplating my existence and the rather fractious state of the world. And in that cornucopia of discombobulation and studied navel gazing, I have come to the conclusion that while things are bad, weird and just plain bizarre, they could be a lot worse and for that I am thankful.



Look, I know this is a recycled and hackneyed listicle, but it is a Canadian Thanksgiving tradition in many families to torture the kids (who just want to mainline cranberry sauce) by going around the dinner table before eating anything and requiring everyone to say what they are thankful for.


In that spirit, every year I do the same and write about some of the things I am thankful for (and some I’m not). It could also be that unlike the dinner table some will have genuine sentiment but most will no doubt be decidedly tongue in cheek, if not foot in mouth.


Overall, as I look back on the past year or so of natural disasters, global aggression (I’m looking at you Vlad), increasing levels of terrorism in the “first world”, senseless violence perpetrated on innocent civilians and bystanders (I’m looking at you Vlad), Donald Trump, Insurrections, Federal elections, conservative leadership races at the federal and provincial levels, economic catastrophes unfolding around the world, global warming, global cooling, climate change, energy scarcity, inflation, interest rates, unemployment and global freaking pesky pandemics, I’m pretty darn thankful to live in sleepy old boring Canada.


Don’t get me wrong, we have our issues here and the weather sucks, but Canada, in the great scheme of things, is pretty darn-tootin’ great, our politics are tame, our geographic situation is either a stroke of genius or luck (I’ll take either) and oftentimes our biggest issues revolve around how exactly we are going to deliver the latest social program to support disadvantaged fellow citizens. I mean seriously, in the last federal election each of the big three parties were running on platforms that would have made Bernie Sanders blush.


I am thankful that notwithstanding massive amounts of memos from the desk of being issued and rallies and sycophants that the Donald Trump Twitter ban has brought the level of anger and partisanship down from an 11 to a 10.


I am thankful that here in Canada we can have mostly civilized debates during randomly called and unnecessary Federal elections that highlight both the seriousness and talent of the various representatives and leaders but can also feature some genuine moments of comedic value. We are an anomaly in the Anglo world with our five parties represented in Parliament, one of which exists solely to break up the country and form its own smaller and less interesting national government in a sovereign nation. And no, I’m not talking about the Wexit whackadoodles. In the meantime, while they await their moment, they do their parliamentary duties. Cool.


I am thankful that the two main parties in Canada aren’t so vastly different as they would like us to believe. I know that politics inspires great partisan conflict but really, how different are the mainstream wings of the Conservatives and Liberals.


I am thankful that we have a new federal Conservative leader. Not that I am enamoured of his platform or his nutjob pandering. I’m just thankful that we now have a defined choice if there is ever another federal election. Plus, no matter what you think of Pierre Poilievre the person or leader, there is no denying that in theatre of the House of Commons he is a master at getting under the skin of the Liberal Party and its leaders, which is so much fun to watch.


I am thankful that Jason Kenney was able to rehabilitate his image somewhat on his way out of office. Relaxed Jason is a better Jason. In the last Calgary election we had “no fucks to give Nenshi” blasting away on his way out of office on the stupidities he lived through for ten years. This time we have “I’m out, good luck with that” Kenney, cavalierly dishing it out on the army of nutjobs and terrible policies they want to enact of his successors.


I’m not so thankful Danielle Smith won the UCP leadership. Her main policy platforms are damaging to the province and are the priorities of a loud and misinformed minority.


I am thankful that notwithstanding that we have a premiere who I don’t agree with, we will have an election by the end of May 2023 that will afford Albertans the opportunity to have an actual say in the policies this particular leader wants to see enacted. If she wins then? So be it, an informed populace will have spoken, but for now her mandate is to caretake until the next election. Don’t assume too much from your victory, no matter how well-fought and earned Ms Smith – voters rarely reward hubris and presumption, unless thy name is Trudeau.


I am thankful that the Calgary economy seems to have finally stabilized after absorbing the massive shocks of the energy downturn and the pandemic and that the downtown office market has steadied itself.


I am thankful for reasonably stable and sane government. As bad as the various municipal, provincial and federal governments are and as much as the leaders make me want to rage like a crazed, barking madman, it is not hard to find evidence of much worse situations around the world.


I am thankful for Donald Trump’s legacy, because the nuthouse he ran remains a non-stop source of entertainment and hilarity. I’m not thankful for anti-trade rhetoric, dog whistle appeals to racist dogma, the near constant state of conflict, the mysoginy, the crass self-enriching corruption and the scorched earth retreat after a decisive election loss, but hey – everyone’s got a few flaws, right? As long as the entertainment continues, who cares!


I am thankful for Joe Biden being the most boring president in the history of the office. We all need the rest.


I am thankful that the Liberals are a minority government. Seriously. The other alternative was a majority. Which I wouldn’t be thankful for.


I am eternally thankful for the opportunity to run the campaign for Calgary mayor. It was an ideas based endeavour that ended in abject failure, but the website was top notch and the candidate truly adequate. We tried to pivot to have him run for UCP leader but I forgot my WordPress password so can’t edit it, so now I’m stuck with a dormant $70 a year domain that is worth $50.


I am thankful to Sirius XM for the Beatles Channel. Seriously. I love the Beatles. Can’t get enough. I don’t care who knows it. I am also thankful my daughter Lucy on occasion still won’t let me turn off the car while a Beatles song is playing (I told her long ago that it’s an actual rule and now she has made it so).


I am thankful for $80-$90-$100 (ish) oil and a recovered energy sector. Mostly because the energy sector is where I make me moneys, but also because a thriving energy market is good for everyone in Canada. Except people who use gas, but really what do you expect? Buy a Tesla if it bothers you so much. Why do you still hate Alberta?


I ma thankful for the continued commitment on the part of the Liberals to see the TransMountain Expansion completed. It cost them seats in the Lower Mainland and a majority government, but it is the right thing to do for Alberta and Canada.


I am thankful to see green shoots of recovery in the energy services space and continued strong performance in the industrial and midstream world.


I am thankful to see the price of natural gas explode (maybe not the best term) adding fuel to the LNG fire in NE, NW and coastal BC. $5 AECO is royalty bonanza territory for Alberta – no so much when it’s $0, but we’re working the problem. Intriguingly, Jason Kenney is the only premier in Alberta history to simultaneously eliminate the deficit and get perp-walked by his party. We are a funny province.


I am thankful to see that Russia, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the OPEC+ crew decided to call the United States bluff and reduce their quotas to prop up prices from continued SPR support. The Dems may think political stunting to get gas prices down prior to the mid-terms was some type of super genius move, but the hypocrisy of trying to restrain domestic investment while threatening the larger producing countries to sacrifice their treasuries to support the US was a bridge too far.



I am thankful the people are finally starting to recognize that Canada’s oil production strength comes from its long-lived, cash flow spewing asset base as opposed to the, for example, the LTO world. Our production declines during the pandemic were by choice and not driven by geology.


I am thankful that the US mid terms are nearly past. It is truly exhausting following that stuff. Now all we have to worry about is the next general. Starting next year. Maybe with Trump. Lord help us…


I am thankful that Ukraine is kicking Russia’s ass and repelling the invading forces.


I am thankful that Elon is buying Twitter. Or not. Or is. Or not. Or is. Or not. Who really knows, but I am thankful for the comedic relief.


I am thankful that the GOP is running such stellar, quality candidates like Herschel Walker.


I am thankful for sarcasm.


I am thankful for zombies. I mean who isn’t. And I’m including the ones in government in that as well.


I am thankful for NFL football, if only because the Bills are 3-1, the Cardinals suck and the odds of them meeting at the end of the season are average at best. Maybe Bills-Eagles? Wouldn’t that be a ticket?


I am thankful that my government thinks that I am a fat cat and a tax cheat. Why? Because it makes me feel important that dedicated, unconflicted and high-minded servants of the people like Chrystia Freeland and Justin Trudeau can take enough time out of counting their trust fund millions to take an active role in ensuring that I pay my “fair share” of taxes while still protecting the “middle class” whoever and wherever they are. Where else in the world can you get such personal attention from the government? It makes me feel important.


I am thankful for my network of professionals – my Twitterverse – the people who keep me informed and grounded, the sources I go to for informed dialogue and reasoned discussion. I am thankful for the friendships and connections we have made along the way – when you can take 280 character discussions about politics and dinner prep and transmogrify them into lunches, hockey games and happy hour beers, you have done something right with the right crew.


I am thankful for you, my readers, for supporting me through the years despite my many missteps and cranky missives that I am sure push a lot of buttons and pull a lot of triggers. I make statements that I am sure many disagree with and are unpopular, but I stand by them. I try not to be partisan, but rather realistic and if my forecasts, predictions and rants upset people, it’s because I am trying to challenge the accepted views.


On the readership front, I am especially thankful for those of you who take the time to reach out after a blog to comment, correct or just converse. There aren’t many, but you know who you are – keep it coming!


On this weekend, I am thankful that I got to spend so much of my adult life getting to know my Uncle Mike who passed away at the age of 93 on Thursday morning. Father, Brother, Grandfather. Uncle. There is an expression we use at the office for someone who has an outsized personality – Mike Parnell was most definitely a full bag of chips. If I could live half his life, I would be full.


Mostly and above all else, I am thankful for all of my family, both my immediate nuclear family as well as my extended family – in-laws, out-laws and all. I am thankful to have a wife who tolerates me and children who consistently and constantly fascinate, confound and astound me.



There, not so bad right? I tried hard to be nasty, but the sun is kind of shining, it’s warmish, bells are ringing in downtown Toronto (all night – WTF?), it’s a long weekend and I’m in an appropriately good mood.


Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving, eh?

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