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13:21 - 03/08/2023
Hello Dear Diary. Back again I am. Did the year improve last year? Well it didn't get worse. My oldest son was living here and that was a bonus. Meant number four son toned down considerably. He conflates me with his ex-wife (number four that is) and tends to project his anger at her onto me. She uses their two children as a weapon against him. I think he is afraid to respond directly to her aggression, so I end up on the receiving end. It is very difficult to cope with, because I never know when they are in conflict.

Number one son had a contract with an oil company that operates out of the First Nations Reserve that butts up against this City. I'm guessing a very favorable tax regime is the reason. He was working mostly outdoors in minus 30 C weather. Rather dangerous conditions. He finally quit, when the owner of the company stranded him out there with no way home one very cold night. I paid for a taxi to go pick him up, but it was a bit fraught for a time. Most taxis don't really know their way around the reserve. I seem to remember my son was able to walk out to a main road by a golf course, so he could be found. Even so, between the wild life out that way and the feral dog packs it was rather frightening - at least for me. The owner of that company didn't pay my son for his last month of work, but at least my son was safe. .

It is typical of oil companies to have one third to one half of their staff as contractors. Less expense on their end, since there are usually not benefits - like health or sick leave - for workers, nor is there protection under very weak Labour laws either. When there is a dispute between the oil companies and the Federal Government, the oil companies usually use those contractors as one of their bargaining chips. Lay them all off without compensation or any liability. The workers end up on the Federal unemployment program, but there is no work for them to go back to. It was a tactic developed after Papa Trudeau's attempt to install a National Energy Program back in the 1970's. Although a lot of people blame him, the mass layoffs of the time, as well as shutting in producing wells so that they weren't paying taxes can be directly laid at the door of the oil companies..

I lived in a community that was heavily dependent on income from those workers. There were so many suicides, family breakdowns, and, I think, nearly half the homes went into foreclosure in that one square mile of land. Covid has no comparison to the devastation it caused. The lawyers at the time thought it was funny that their companies owned most of families' lives then. I think that one devastating action created a form of "Stockholm Syndrome" among all Albertans. Fear of the consequences from oil companies cruelty meant that the next few generations of Provincial politicians just rolled over and gave the oil companies whatever they demanded. I guess we are all de facto hostages to them. From working in many companys' records for a decade, I can attest that this province and this country have been robbed blind by these cretins. The environmental damage has been terrible. Just ask the farmers, ranchers, and small towns how these predators have sucked them dry. Oops end of rant. Sigh.

A+'s Dad ended up in hospital for a week with Covid. That created some sort of dispute between his Dad's second wife and A+. That still isn't resolved.

In February last year, I slipped and ended up crashing into my front door on a very icy winter's day. I felt some of my lower ribs slide up over my upper ribs. It was a very odd and painful injury. I didn't go see my doctor, partly because of the Covid effects on our health care system, but also because rib injuries are very difficult to treat - I know, I worked in rehab at one of our bigger teaching hospitals. Still it took about three months for the damage to subside. I find that now I am less willing to go out walking in case I slip again.

I think I will take a break now, dear diary, until my blood pressure drops from writing about the oil patch. I wish our revenue agency would audit their tax returns more carefully. I'm certain all that money is in off-shore accounts or is laundered along with all the other Panama Paper dudes cabals.

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