Gas Prices

What is it about gas prices? I confess there are a few things I find perplexing about it all.

Are the major oil companies working in collusion? Every time our political people look into it curiously enough the come to the same conclusion, "No". I guess that is where my perplexity turns to confusion.

Let's think about it.
  • The cost of a barrel of oil was going down. Price of fuel has gone up.
  • All the major oil companies go up at the same time.
  • The little retailers sell it at 10 cents a liter cheaper.
  • The oil comes out of the ground in Western Canada and it is refined here in Regina but we pay more at the pump than in Ottawa.
  • There are no oil pipelines from Western Canada to Eastern Canada. Eastern Canada's oil comes in by tanker ship from the Middle East, they pay less in Toronto than we do here in Regina.
  • The USA buys a huge amount of Canadian oil. Gas prices are considerable cheaper in the states.
None of that makes sense.

I'd say we are being ripped off and Saskatchewan politicians love the amount of tax they get from those high prices. No wonder they don't see collusion.

Saskatchewan is Warmer at Last

The deep freeze has finally broken. You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief around Saskatchewan. I think we actually hit plus 1 yesterday afternoon and the forecast is calling for much more temperate readings for the next few days, at the very least.

It was so nice, last night after floor hockey, not to feel your hair freeze immediately after heading outside. You could get the sense there is some end in sight. That we may have broken winter's back. And then again, its only January. Perhaps this is just a brief respite from the -45 degrees we were dealing with but who cares, we'll take all the warm we can get.


First Nations Wisdom

There has been a great deal written about the crisis in Gaza over the last week or so. "How can we ever find a solution" many ask there are few answers.

Mirette Ghanem wrote to the Globe & Mail suggesting that those in the Middle East could learn from some First Nation's wisdom.

One day while talking to his grandson a First Nations elder told him, "There are two wolves fighting inside all of us - the wolf of fear and hate and the wolf of love and peace" The grandson listened to his grandfather and then asked, "Which one will win?"
The elder replied. "The one we feed."


Sign the Petition Urging Gaza Ceasefire

I've just signed an emergency petition calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, you might want to do the same. Already over 1000 people have been killed, including over 300 children and the death toll is climbing daily. This effort is organized by Avaaz.com
I urge you to sign the petition too. You can find it here.
If you want to know more about this organization before signing on visit their website by following this link.


There is Profit and then there is Obscenity

You have to wonder what is up in the Saskatchewan potash industry. Just this week a layoff of 1000 workers was announced by Mosaic and before it is all over it is rumoured that up to 2500 potash workers in Saskatchewan may be looking for work. As I understand it the company concern is that with the price so high the demand may fall off during these economic times. I am told by those working in the mines that the demand remains high and that the price has not decreased.

Potash rose to a record spot price of US $862.50 per tonne in September, up from $802.50 in August, and stabilized at $865 into mid-October. In November, Canpotex, the export marketing consortium of Canadian potash miners, announced that it signed a new contract to supply potash to Japanese customers at a delivered price of just over $900 per tonne.

It is my understanding that the cost of mining that same potash is between $28.00 and $50.00 a metric tonne depending on the mine. Even when you factor in transportation costs, possibly the odd bribe in the third world and the multi-million dollar salaries the CEO’s get it makes you wonder. Holy smoke, that is a bit of mark up isn’t it? There is a world food shortage and these corporations are charging those kind of figures to developing countries for fertilizer?

From my perspective it is all a bit obscene but...perhaps that is just me.


Friends of Canadian Broadcasting

The friends of Canadian Broadcasting is on a campaign to draw the Prime Minister's attention to the importance of culture to the Canadian economy.
You can send a message to Harper by following this link.

Ok Blog Snow God, Enough is Enough

I know I complained about the lack of "real" snow here in Saskatchewan. That was in December. I was reminiscing about winters in eastern Canada, telling stories about big Quebec snowfalls and complaining about the cold here on the prairies. I was saying things like "We never get much snow, it just seems like we do because the couple of inches we got blows around a lot."

Ok, I take it back. It hasn't stopped snowing since I started complaining. My friends have been starting to blame me because they have woken up to yet another day of shoveling.

If there is a blog snow god out there. I get the point. Stop.


Why do we Condone Hockey Fights?

I have a confession to make. I don’t fight. I know that must sound almost un-Canadian to some people raised on hockey violence and bar fights. I suppose it is no wonder. It isn’t that I am never aggressive, never argue or never get angry. Anger comes to me as quickly as it does to anyone, sometime too quickly.
I spent the majority of my working life in a rough and tumble trade union environment, collective bargaining, organizing, walking picket lines, in demos being jostled by cops and dealing with sometimes volatile workplace situations. I spent the first eight years of my working life in the Canadian Navy, two and a half of them in submarines. I have been in waterfront bars in some of the toughest cities in the world. I have seen lots of fights but...I don’t fight.
What brings me to this is the story out of Ontario about 21 year old Don Sanderson who, in the midst of a hockey fight, fell, hit his head and died a bit later in hospital. I wasn’t there, I didn’t see it happen and if there is a Utube video, I haven’t watched it but I am deeply affected by it. What a tragedy for his parents and friends. I have a 21 year old son and I can’t imagine how I would feel if he was taken from us, particularly by such a senseless series of events.
What I think bothers me the most about it is how many people, Don Cherry among them, in a way condone the conduct which brought on his untimely death. Frankly I am sick and tired of hearing that fighting is just part of the game. With all respect to the Don Cherry’s of the world, that is simply bullshit.
It would be so easy to stop fighting on the ice. If I was the NHL commissioner, or better, someone with someone with power in the junior hockey system, I’d shut down fighting in a season. The solution is simple. If a player knows that the league or association he plays with has a no exception, zero tolerance policy, it will stop. We might lose a few thugs the first season but who cares. No one who actually cares about the game will continue to throw punches.
Hockey fighters are bully’s and thugs. I cannot understand why we continue to fete them by splashing their pictures on newspaper sports pages and by running hockey fight highlights in sports bars. Ever wonder why we get bar fights? We say it is ok to fight. In fact we glorify it.
The fact is that people who can’t handle a situation, who don’t have solutions or are too dumb to find them fight. It is 2009, we are not that simple a species. Fighting is stupid and primitive. Condoning it, in the school yard, the hockey rink or on the job helps to make it more acceptable for men to beat their wives and kids or to start fights for fun. Arguing that fighting is ok in sporting situations makes it easier for us as a nation to condone what is happening in Gaza, in Darfur and in Somalia.
I don't care what Don Cherry says. It isn't right and we should stop it.