Confused?? Me Too!
illustration of canadian flag as bar code

Confused?? Me Too!

01 25, 2016
George Brookman Blog Photo

George Brookman

CEO

Once coined “Mr. Calgary”, George is well known in the city’s business and volunteer community. Quick with a joke, story or word of wisdom, George is a force, whose energy is contagious. In 1984, he acquired West Canadian Industries Group; with passion and determination he has grown West Canadian into Canada’s leading digital print and document management organization. In addition to his own company, George serves on the Board of Directors of Penn West Exploration as the Chairman of the Governance Committee.  He is currently on the Board of Directors for Travel Alberta as well as the Calgary Flames and the Calgary Stampede Foundations. As a volunteer, George is the Past President and Chairman of the Board of the Calgary Stampede; Past Chairman of Tourism Calgary and Past President of the Downtown Rotary Club of Calgary.

George Brookman

CEO

Even though Europe appears to be nothing more than a bunch of borders drawn on a page;  we have all seen over many years, just how fiercely Europeans defend the country of their birth.  In fact, most of the time this inward focus on their own nationalism is likely not a good thing, but there are times when I wonder if Canadians couldn’t use a bit more pride in what and who we are.  

Take cars for example, in Sweden the Swedes drive Volvos and Saabs—neither one of which are owned by Swedes any longer—but they are still symbolic of their nation. In Germany everyone drives an Audi, or a BMW or a Mercedes or, of course a Volkswagen while in France virtually every vehicle you see is a Renault or a Citroen. I know this is not a true test of supporting industry, but it is an indication that people have pride in what their own country produces.  The people who created IKEA  are almost revered as heroes in Sweden while the Israelis have taken that tiny nation and turned it into a technological giant.

Are Canadians as concerned about their purchases? Do we ever ask the question “Where was this made?” and allow that to be part of our decision. Why not a Ford or a Chev or a Toyota built in Ontario over vehicles built in some other part of the world?  Don’t worry, I am as guilty of this as anyone, but when was the last time you saw a Canadian Prime Minister or the Premier of Ontario standing beside a car as it came off the line in Oshawa or Oakville saying “Here is one of the finest vehicles in the world and I urge you to consider buying this car.” It just doesn’t happen.

The Canadian wine that comes from vineyards in British Columbia and Ontario are now outstanding and world class—yet we continue to buy wines from California, France and Italy as if Canadian wineries do not know what they are doing. Can you imagine buying American wine in France or Italy and you sure cannot buy any Canadian wine in California, no possible way?  Just doesn’t happen. Canadian beef, Canadian pork, Canadian fish and poultry set the standards for the world but we as shoppers need to make sure that we insist on those products when we buy. Every purchase of a “Produced in Canada” product, helps every single Canadian at some point along the line.

Then there is oil. The truth is that Canadian oil is produced more cleanly, more efficiently and with more regard to the environment than producers in any other country. Do you think that the Russians or the Arabs  become apoplectic over an oil spill? Of course not. In California a gas line has been spewing natural gas into the atmosphere for weeks and it hardly makes the CNN news reports.  Yet in Canada, where our people rely on coal, oil and natural gas just to survive in our climate, it has almost become an insult to say that you are “In the oil business.” Have we lost our minds?  When Saudi Arabia is shipping their oil to New Brunswick so that Irving can refine and sell it to Canadians, we have to ask ourselves “Has somebody got a thing going here?" When Quebec Mayors who have enjoyed the financial support of the Alberta energy industry for many years, come out against a pipeline that will allow them to return some of that support to the fellow Canadians, one cannot help but ask “What are they thinking?”  Where is the leadership that speaks out against this nonsense?  Why is the Prime Minister not appearing on every newscast to declare that he will defend all Canadian industries and sell their products to the world……….not just aircrafts and light rail cars.

This country has an economy based on the oil and gas industry, the agricultural industry, then manufacturing followed by tourism, technology and so on down the line. The energy industry is so far ahead of the rest that it is ridiculous and when someone recently asked me “When did oil become so important to our world?” I replied, “I think it started when people began hunting whales for their oil.” The world runs on energy and while renewables may be coming along nicely, the fact is that oil and gas are still the most important sources of energy we have today and Canada has it in abundance.

So, Canadians, let’s tweak our attitudes. Let’s not buy our oil from countries that take our dollars, turn them into guns and then try to kill us with them. How ridiculous is that? Let’s think about where our cars, our appliances are made and try to buy Canadian, let’s think about what we put on our table and take pride that it if is produced in Canada, it is likely the best the world has to offer.

I have often said that Canada is the closest thing to “Camelot” that the world has ever seen.  Just like the Knights of the Round Table, we have the choice to either preserve the greatest country in the history of the earth, or to just let it slip away from us one silly decision at a time.

46 Comments

Noranne Dickin Feb 01, 2016 01:08
Very well put, George. I wish that you would send this letter as a 'letter to the editor' to all our major newspaper organizations. In fact, just tweek it a little bit to make it an appropriate letter to the New York Times - please - that would be great.
Joy Feb 02, 2016 09:23
Nice article! Wish it were all true. It's sad how blinders can distort our vision. Buy local is the best, of course. Buy Canadian. But there's more to us than this dirty oil. Lots of opportunity to be had with green energy innovation. But if we're 'stuck' in the oil patch we'll sink. The past governments actions proved that point to a tee! Wake up folks! It's 2016! Let's leave our planet for our future generations. Our children and our children's children shall we?!?
Bruce Feb 03, 2016 09:18
Great article! Agree that Canada should be more like Camelot, but in reality the truth is we are more like Spamelot, Monty Python has nothing on the absurdity of Canada
Cat Biker Jan 26, 2016 10:21
Bravo! Well said George.
Ken Faullkner Jan 28, 2016 10:11
Hear, hear! Very well said George!
irvmichlin@msn.com Jan 28, 2016 11:26
Right on. From a friend from the USA. We both need this kind of thinking. To remind you - We met at a photo marketing show a number of years ago. I developed a FlipPix product and had been involved in horse training. Wishing you the best for the New Year.
Kim G C Moody Jan 28, 2016 11:30
Very true George.....totally agree.
Baffled Calgarian Jan 28, 2016 11:31
How do we get this article in the hands of our PM and Premier? As opposed to increasing our federal debt by giving Albertan's a stimulus package, why doesn't the fed gov't just approved the pipeline -- killing two birds with one stone improving the Canadian economy and putting people back to work.
Gail Irving Jan 28, 2016 11:46
Somebody should tell Walmart & Canadian Tire- made in China
Peter Collins Jan 28, 2016 02:03
Great article, George. Ties in nicely with Rick Mercer's recent rant against M. Codere.
Sheri Holmes Stirling Jan 28, 2016 07:40
Watching the Republican debate, now living in the US, and so proud to read something so honest and clear. Proud to have worked with you at the Stampede. Thanks
Chuck Davison Jan 29, 2016 07:12
I an still confused but I think it may be Normal Me
Mike Jan 29, 2016 07:12
"The truth is that Canadian oil is produced more cleanly, more efficiently and with more regard to the environment than producers in any other country" That's completely false. Yes Canada has high environmental standards, but how can it be produced more cleanly and efficiently than any country when it's one of the most expensive oils produce per barrel. It's not expensive for nothing. "take our dollars, turn them into guns and then try to kill us with them" Really? Should we not sell planes to Saudi Arabia also? This would be a lot more credible without the hyperbole. And we wonder why harper has had such a hard time building pipelines throughout Canada and the USA, while Obama has built dozens of them in the last 5 years.
louise Jan 29, 2016 07:32
SO TRUE! AMEN !
Bilbo from the Shire Jan 29, 2016 07:54
Mike your comments just feed the no oil produced in Canada train.
Sher Jan 29, 2016 08:48
Mike your an idiot if you think Ovomit has done anything but destroy the US as has the Liberals with their free handouts to all that flock to Canada to get them...like Trudeau spending all this money on refugees Harper put the halt on....its about time Canada started looking after Canadians that put an effort into living there not for Canada being the place to go live off of....I am proud to be Canadian until I hear people I want to go to Canada for their free this free that. Hello!!! NOTHING is free.. Isn't it funny how our way of life affend people but the handouts don't. How our oil, coal & gas money its provides for our climate...go cold, or go south!!!
Patrick Jan 29, 2016 09:26
Mike,it's one of the most expensive oils produce per barrel because of Canada high environmental standards in first place.
Leo Jan 29, 2016 09:42
Mike...you truly are ignorant. People with attitudes like yours have put us in the mess we are in. Not Harper, not previous government, just ignorant people like you.
Wil Jan 29, 2016 09:56
Mike you should really do some research and or check your facts before posting. Canadian oil break -even price is about $40 to 44 U.S. Per barrel. That's cheaper than many middle Eastern countries. Obama and the U.S. have also built and continues to build many pipe-lines stretching East to West, North to South. But not for oil/gas. They're for nuclear plants.
Mary Jan 29, 2016 11:14
Very good George. You're right! We need to look after our own :) And to add to the oil comments above. Even if it is more expensive in Canada, I would gladly pay extra to support CANADA. My hubby just bought a FORD :)
BT Reilly Jan 29, 2016 11:41
Baffled Calgarian: getting this article into the PM' s hands won't do much good unless someone explains the big words to him.....
Elaine Jan 29, 2016 12:26
We were just talking about that at work today ,how we are fed up to , Canada all the way,
Elaine Jan 29, 2016 12:26
We were just talking about that at work today ,how we are fed up to , Canada all the way,
Jarrod Jan 29, 2016 12:41
Amazing George... So, so true!!
John Morgan Ireland Jan 29, 2016 12:44
In many countries the creed of globalisation has tainted our respect for home produced products. Sometimes it's also because these are more expensive or inferior at home than the exported product. Thoughts of geese and golden eggs come to mind. :-(
Paula G. Jan 29, 2016 12:56
I just sent Justin Trudeau this article via email: Justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca.
Sonja Jan 29, 2016 12:58
Well said. I'm pleased to join you as a proud Canadian! Buy local!
Robert Jan 29, 2016 01:50
It is sad to have people call others ignorant and idiot the minute they have a different opinion. Sad. With the pipeline passing under fresh water source in Montreal, they have concern. Turn this around and see if your water source (drinking) would be at risk if you would not raise concern. I live in Montreal and I`m for the project. Many people are for the project. "The truth is that Canadian oil is produced more cleanly, more efficiently and with more regard to the environment than producers in any other country". Everybody can make such statement about anything and everything - but only good if you provide a study and documentation.
Lou Jan 29, 2016 08:12
Robert, so you're saying you'd prefer the dumping of raw sewage INTO your water sources than the passage of oil through environmentally controlled & standardized pipelines UNDER your water sources? Perhaps you didn't understand vs. Ignorance
Bart Jan 29, 2016 09:11
OK let's keep Canada for Canadians and stop exporting our natural resources. Let's use what we have here. Or did you want to export and make a handful of billionaires richer? Yeah, I thought so.
Shelley h Jan 29, 2016 10:42
Well said and yes there are probably more of us buying Canadian products than first thought, but we must continue to push for these products. It's consumer demand that drives the market and will provide the business case for further Canadian product development. I agree that this leadership should come, first and foremost, from our Prime Minister.
Manya Ogorevc Jan 30, 2016 07:20
Well said! Bravo!
Bob McInnis Jan 30, 2016 09:49
Thanks for speaking truth to power in a reasonable tone and voice. The rhetoric on all sides has become loud and shrill. This will have more impact.
Gk Jan 30, 2016 10:32
Send this to parliament ! So true
Robin Agur Jan 30, 2016 12:00
Just Excellent George .. We will distribute .. Can you tell us why we aren't building a new refinery in Alberta ? 1021
Ken Carter Jan 30, 2016 12:41
I totally agree with this article. Well written and extremely well said.
David Fox Jan 30, 2016 12:59
Well said George.
Frustrated in Calgary Jan 30, 2016 02:12
The P.M. is too busy taking selfies with women and doing tv shows. He doesn't have time to do his job and care about Canada. He's popular for his looks and nice hair not his ability to run a country
Scott Drysdale Jan 30, 2016 02:56
I stopped buying dirty US wine back when Obummer veto'd the Keystone XL Pipeline. SInce then I stopped buying all US products except for vegetables because there are no options this time of year. The majority of US people are fine..... but I totally despise the US fed politicians and ignorant citizens who started this protectionist war.
Bill Jan 30, 2016 06:05
George - Excellent article. Mike - Canada does have the most regulated oil industry in the world with the highest environmental standards which is one reason why the operating costs are higher. Bart - Eastern Canadian refineries pay more per barrel for imported foreign crude and Energy East would allow Canada to capture that lost money and allow the export of additional oil which would add 100's of billions of GDP, taxes, royalties and transfer payments for hospitals, schools, etc. Robin - Canada already has excess refinery capacity but it is not economic to refine oil into 3 or 4 grades of gasoline, diesel, av fuel, heating oil, lube oil, etc and ship it separately to the major markets. Alberta has been building a new refinery for the past 5 years to meet diesel demand in Alberta and the North but the Alberta Gov't had to put money in and still not sure if it will make money.
Fred Boehli Jan 30, 2016 08:51
I would LOVE to answer your questions George. Problem is, an email of that size won't fit into this comment box. This wouldn't be an attack, or critical, but an honest rationalized view, Born of the son of a European immigrant who witnessed the great European war from the losers side, and who brought up his children to ask very critical questions of society, human behavior, and intellectualism as critical lessons to gain from that war. Perhaps such an insight would not only answer your questions, but also generate more questions that need to be asked for the future. Or, Like the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire, spend generations looking back and wishing for the past to return.
Bill Jan 30, 2016 09:08
George - Excellent article. Mike - Canada does have the most regulated oil industry in the world with the highest environmental standards which is one reason why the operating costs are higher. Bart - Eastern Canadian refineries pay more per barrel for imported foreign crude and Energy East would allow Canada to capture that lost money and allow the export of additional oil which would add 100's of billions of GDP, taxes, royalties and transfer payments for hospitals, schools, etc. Robin - Canada already has excess refinery capacity but it is not economic to refine oil into 3 or 4 grades of gasoline, diesel, av fuel, heating oil, lube oil, etc and ship it separately to the major markets. Alberta has been building a new refinery for the past 5 years to meet diesel demand in Alberta and the North but the Alberta Gov't had to put money in and still not sure if it will make money.
Willy Jan 31, 2016 10:45
So true!
Randy Jan 31, 2016 12:09
Thanks for writting this George. Its very frustrating to watch how our Provincial and Federal governments are making comments and decisions that treat the resource sector with disdain. As Brad Wall has said, perhaps the payments by the West to Quebec, Ontario and BC should flow through a pipeline. Perhaps your piece should be aired on the Liberals marketing channel the CBC...dont hold your breath. Keep up the conversation!
Sherise Jan 31, 2016 01:39
Thank you for pointing out, in addition to your many valid points on economics and environmental considerations, that the alternative oil sources that our fellow Canadians are so eager to consume in lieu of Canadian oil, is not only transported in more dangerous manner ( both environmentally and as a threat to human life via rail transit), but that the countries producing this oil have aggregious human rights violations? The lack of social justice missing in these discussions astounds me. It's embarrassing that so many citizens in our country only talk of environmentalism within our borders, with a blatant disregard for the human rights violations and atrocities against women and children outside of them. We have some of the best environmental standards in the world, and getting better every year. The environmental cost to transport outside oil negates any true benefit there may be. So, Dirty Oil, or Bloody Oil? That, my friends, is the question.
Erica Jan 31, 2016 11:04
Our prime minister was a drama teacher so at best his qualifications are how to 'act' and teach his students how to do the same. This pales in comparison to having the capability to run a country.....and yet, people voted for him. Most of the people who have responded on this blog have higher qualifications than our own prime minister. It is with great chagrin that he is our prime minister and even more disappointing that other fellow Canadians took his lip service to mean something during the election and his past to mean nothing. He is in way over his head and we need to send on as much information as possible to him in the attempt to now fast track his education before he burys our country including our unity as provinces. God help us!

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