When you’re being sacrificed, someone might get yelled at

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks to reporters before heading to Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, June 23, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

(Root Cause Analysis: a method for understanding the underlying cause of an observed or experienced incident.)

A big part of my job throughout my career has been safety. Please don’t hold that against me. (Not everybody loves the safety person.) In the oilfield, safety is part of everyone’s job. Its doesn’t matter what it is you do, there is a certain level of safety involved. Over the decades we have instilled many initiatives, including dedicated training programs, thorough investigative techniques and, of course, “Root Cause Analysis.” Well, today, let’s talk what’s causing all the trouble in the energy industry. (Spoiler alert, its politics)

“Oh no Crossman!” “Not more f—king politics!” Well, sorry ‘bout that. But the energy industry is inexorably tied to politics. The more time passes on, the more this becomes true. Hell, you can’t whisper “pipeline” without a whole pile of bureaucrats running in at government-mandated top-speed to either shut it down, or pile on the regulations to guarantee the project’s demise before a shovel hits the ground. This has unquestionably created a fair bit of panic amongst many in the fossil-fuel business. This panic fuels frustration among business owners, workers and the families that depend on the energy industry to survive.

What started me down this path today is this: On my news feed, I learned that Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland gets yelled at in Grande Prairie. This is nothing new. Politicians of all stripes get yelled at all the time. Most probably deserve all earfuls on occasion. Is this man a hero for doing this? No, but when you record it and post it online, it kinda makes you an asshole. Should we mock him? Maybe. Should we take him seriously? Probably not. (Unless armed or has a history of violence) Do we charge him? No way. This is a case of a frustrated man who clearly wanted to vent and be heard. He did and he was. End of story. I can sympathize with him to some extent. But I call him an asshole because his little rant only makes him the de-facto representative for all of us in the energy industry. So now we can be painted as unstable by the Liberals with a nice wide brush. (CBC loves this shit)

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Since the dawn of humanity, people have always needed a scapegoat to blame when things they had no control over went wrong. Drought? Better sacrifice a lamb or goat. That’ll make the gods happy. Flooding? Uh-oh, sorry, but your teenage virgin daughter is gonna pay the ultimate price to fix it. Plague? Locusts? Drown five or six of the villagers. Damn, the volcano is erupting. Gods must be angry. Better toss some children in. There, all better now. Until the next time an event beyond our control occurs. For some reason, the human race is hard-wired to determine a reason for every problem we cannot control. Sometimes (most of the time) people will make up problems just to invent a solution to solve the non-problem. (The politician’s specialty)  Don’t believe me? Watch the news for five straight evenings.

The return of human sacrifice. (Well, industrial sacrifice anyway)

We have had it really good for one hundred plus years now. There is plenty of food, clean water for the most part, and cheap reliable energy. It is these things that have put us in the enviable position we are in today. We are well-informed (depending on your news feed), well-fed, well-travelled, and well, pretty damn fortunate. So, just like a Hollywood actor who needs a cause to remain relevant, we seek to find a reason to question the validity of what we have built. So what is a well-fed, well-intentioned society to do?

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Hey guys, the weather is bad. Too hot, too cold, too dry too wet, too, uh “weathery.” (Yes, I just invented that word) Well, it seems lately we don’t believe in gods, or even God for that matter, so whose fault is this? “I know!” “US!” “We are responsible for this!” The well-funded scientists, do some studies, and come up with the root cause of global warming-cooling-drying-wetting situation is our lifestyle. The politicians and the people that pull their strings begin to strategize.

“Could we hold a ritual sacrifice?”

“Just might work, but our media spin doctor tell us there may be some legal hurdles to overcome.”

“Ideas, anyone?”

“Hey team, how about this? We can blame the very thing that has brought us to the pinnacle of civilization, and endeavor to destroy it.”

“Makes sense to me.”

The strange thing is, society seems to be happy to stumble down this path. We seem to be rushing headlong into a low carbon future without having a plan that won’t freeze and or starve half the population in the meantime.

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As stupid as this may sound, this is precisely what modern society is attempting to do. In Canada, we are going out of our way to not provide energy security to the world by not improving our infrastructure. If fact, we build regulatory walls to prevent the ability to end European reliance on Russian LNG and oil. Now I know what ya’ll are wondering. ”What in the Hell does this have to do with some jackwagon (thanks again, Brad Wall) yelling at Chrystia Freeland at Grande Prairie city hall? Thanks for your patience. We are now officially at “Root Cause Analysis.”

The root cause is telling an entire industry (and related support industries) that they will soon be regulated into non-existence. It’s about watching our country buy oil from countries that spend their wealth on super-yachts and private jets for their dictators and sheiks. It’s about people watching our country’s potential opportunity being flushed down the proverbial drain.

Another root cause is government making people’s lives more difficult, or preventing them from working altogether. This involves the vaccine mandates. Many people are severely afraid of having a relatively untested vaccine injected into them and their children. It’s about truck drivers not being able to cross the borders to make a living if they disagree with taking these vaccines. The panic is also spreading into the agriculture industry, as farmers can see government-mandated fertilizer reduction or elimination. When you put family’s futures in jeopardy, people become frightened and they will lash out.

The solution isn’t yelling at politicians, as enjoyable as that may seem. Get out there and support candidates that support your industry. Talk to family and friends in other parts of the country. Explain to them why they need to change how they vote. Write some letters. Work for ethical companies that treat the environment and people in the best ways possible. Let’s all put this “Root Cause Analysis” to good use and fix the problem.

Here’s the deal when using Root Cause Analysis. Does it make you safer? No it doesn’t. Will it solve your problems? Not a chance. It is simply a tool. The purpose of Root Cause Analysis is to provide you with the information you require to prevent the incident you investigated from happening again. Maybe we could apply this tool to resolve the frustration we in the energy industry are feeling.

 

Brian Crossman is a partner at Independent Well Servicing in Estevan. He often wonders about the hypocrisy of the PM and members of the Liberal party when they mock and stigmatize Canadians they don’t agree with. If you demand respect, then give respect, even to people you disagree with.

 

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