A Hint of Optimism
January 26, 2017 By Corey Taylor
It’s said the only certainty in business is uncertainty, and we seem to be well over chest deep in the latter with the level rising daily.
I wrote this column while reeling from my post-Trumpian shock, themed around the inability of the federal government to grasp its role in fomenting a business friendly environment, that can live in parallel, and even thrive, alongside the seeming obsession with the environment itself.
Justin Trudeau, last January, stated his job was not to be a “cheerleader for such projects,” referring to pipelines and other national energy projects, that would certainly require helicopter support and therefore of great interest to us. Instead, he said his job included such noble causes as “creating a better future” and “bringing people together.”
These may be within his purview but how they are achieved and what priority is placed on revenue generation to pay for everything is what separates aspirations from reality. David Suzuki sits in a $10 million mansion in Vancouver criticizing loggers and oilmen, while basking in the glow of the products that would not be possible without them.
Cadres of his followers sit in Starbucks talking about the world’s problems, never realizing where they sit was once pristine forest until urbanization and agriculture erased the trees in favour of human creations and constructs, heaping opprobrium on those whose livelihoods (and lives) also depend on the healthy environment they are accused of negatively impacting. I think it’s a safe bet that nobody who frequents Starbucks voted Trump on the other hand!
A large sector of the helicopter industry depends on the exploration for, and the development of, natural resources. Responsible and strategic development is essential for our country to thrive in the modern world, and we should not view ourselves as selling off our children’s legacy in the mold of a banana republic, nor should we embrace Neo-Luddism through a misguided notion that our children will inherit a better world if we use less of the technology that is giving us longer and healthier lives.
The kind of progress we need in our country benefits all of us, even those who fight against it, and helicopters are essential for the safe and efficient development our society deserves. This is particularly true now that our neighbours south of the border are putting themselves first in discussions of trade; we need to reduce our dependence on that gargantuan market and free our stranded resources. Nothing would change the face of our country more than casting off the yoke of indentured servitude we find ourselves in, regardless of whether we recognize the true nature of our relationship with our brethren below us on the map. To do this, we need pipelines to the coast. Any coast.
This past November, I was stunned to see Trudeau face the cameras and come out in favour of one of the most contentious pipelines of all, the Trans Mountain expansion. This is great news for our country and our industry, although there are many steps and hurdles still to overcome.
For Trudeau to take this stand now, after his year of shirt off photo ops, seems to indicate he’s maturing as a leader and is willing to face down many of the people who elected him in service of a holistic attempt for the greater good, recognized or not by the leftiest among us. Large scale hemp cultivation and wind power are not going to solve our problems in this century, but responsibly developing our abundant natural gas reserves can certainly light the way.
It’s a truism, contradictory or not, that fossil fuels are what enable us to develop renewables, from the materials themselves to the funds required for the vast amount of R & D required. Just as war produces research that benefits us during peacetime (ensuring the sacrifices of our veterans are not in vain), exploiting the finite bounty of fossil fuels enables us to envision and make manifest the New World of clean air and water we all, in our hearts, seek.
While exploration expenditures are less than a third of what they were five years ago, the indicators are starting to show a change in the direction of the wind. Now that our PM has put on his cheerleading skirt and is out shaking the pom poms, I am feeling bullish about the next few years. The U.S. presidential election did not bode well for the Pax Americana, but could be the best thing to happen to Canada since Bill Shatner conned the Enterprise!
Corey Taylor began his aviation career in 1989 and has flown helicopters in some 20 countries while holding almost every position required by the regulations – and some no one has ever heard of.