Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Boom Town Social Ills - Syphilis in the Oilpatch

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, a coupla days ago a story come out in the Globe & Mail all about the troublems they're havin' over in Alberty in the oil patch with all the new workers movin' in t' get the oil outta the sand. A coupla Canajun boogers posted up boog stories on these troublems they're havin'. Politique Vert had a good piece where she quoted a speech made by the gal I adore, Earth Mother Lizzie May. BigCityLib had a piece where he sorta poked some fun at a coupla nutjobs who happen t' come from Alberty. Alberta Aardvark ain't happy with BigCity.

Well, I been boogin' against Alien Alberts who wanna bust up Canada since when I started boogin'. The sorta regional finger-pointin' an' guiltifyin' goin' on between Alberty an' Ontariariario ain't good fer Canada. My Canada includes Alberty.

Over t' Politique Vert I seen a speech from Lizzie May from way last June. Here's the part that applies --
"Before I get to the ecological impacts, I want to cover some of the social ones, because they get missed. Believe it or not I have friends in Fort McMurray, and it is really appalling what's happened to the community. In 1971 it had a population of less than 7,000 people, by 1981 it was over 30,000. Today there are 70,000 people living in Fort McMurray. They lack adequate infrastructure of every kind. They don't have adequate sewage, they don't have adequate housing. As a matter of fact 20% of that 70,000 population has no fixed address. A lot of the people working there are in work camps. Thousands and thousands of working age guys who take big salaries are in these work camps.

So of course there's a huge crime problem, there's the use of drugs, there's assault, there's HIV/AIDS, there's prostitution. One of the doctors I've talked to in Fort McMurray said that every kind of high impact, high stress, high risk behaviour you can imagine happens in those work camps. And they have an acute lack of workers. They want more people to come, there's no place to put them, there's no infrastructure. "

Lizzie weren't just talkin' through her hat an' now we're seein' them troublems comin' home t' roost.
I left me a couplafew comments over t' the BCL an' the Aardvark boogs. I'm gonna paste some o' them in here.
At the Aardvark, they was bashin' the Grits an' goin' on about the NEP an' even Pierre Truedough. One Aardvark commenter by the name o' Lycan sez "And now, despite all the Liberal(s) have done, Alberta is booming."
I figgered I'd set him straight a little.
I ain't in Alberty but from what I hear-tell, it's these here tar sands that's the biggest boom goin' on, right?
An' I ain't a Liberal but I lived under a Liberal gummint fer 13 years an' I paid attention t' what was goin' on. The Liberals is the ones who made the tar sands development possible with $1.4 billion a year in tax breaks.
Here's a little bit on that from the National Post.
"Environmentalists, the NDP and Bloc Quebecois have repeatedly called for an end to programs introduced in 1997 -- when Mr. Dion was minister of intergovernmental affairs under Jean Chretien -- that allow oil companies to write off their start-up costs with breaks on taxes and royalties.
While it helped kick-start development in the 1990s, critics say the industry is taking record profits and no longer needs government assistance. Opposing parties have frequently assailed the Tories in the House of Commons as friends of the oil industry, despite the fact the tax breaks were put in place by the Liberals well before the Conservatives came to power."
NEP was decades ago. PET's been dead fer years. Tar sands development is now. Liberals in Ottawa kick-started the tar sands. Don't hate 'em fer helpin' make Alberta rich. (That there was a play on the Aardvark title Don't hate us because we are beautiful. )
When there's troublems in Alberty, like in Fort Mac with the syphilis, I reckon it's a troublem fer Canada. That makes it every Canajun's troublem an' I reckon name-callin' an' regional one-upsmanship crappola don't do a dang thing t' solve the troublem.
I ain't been in Alberty since 1973 when I was young an' handsome. I'm gettin' old an' wornout now an' I might never get t' that beautiful province again before I cash out. Even so, when Alberty suffers with social troublems, I feel the pain on accounta it's Canajuns who's sufferin'.
Now, I'm all fer givin' Alberty all the help it needs. One thing I didn't like was when Harpoon divvied up the CO2 reduction money an' Alberty got less than Ontariariario or Q-beck. I don't reckon money like that ought be divvied up on the basis of population (votes). I figger Alberty should get the most on accounta they've got the biggest troublems.
They also got big troublems on the social side an' I figger them oil companies an' the taxes them workers pay oughta be enough t' make sure they got doctors an' womens' shelters an' STD clinics an' drug rehab programs an' recreational facilities. If Ottawa's gotta chip in an help Canada's richest province look after the workers who's makin' 'em rich, so be it. We can't have these sorta troublems in the oil patch any more than we can have 'em on northern reserves or in Parkdale.
Even if Lizzie May gets elected Queen o' Canada (which she won't be anytime soon) the tar sands is gonna keep on growin'. It ain't stoppable, even if we wanted to. What's possible is t' clean it up. We can clean up the extraction process an' we can clean up the social mess.
We're intelligent, educated, hard-workin', compassionate Canajuns. Of course, we can look after our people and our planet.

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