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Oil towns talk back

I was going through some old newspapers and found some clippings I had written about Esso. So what a surprise when I went to the store today. I glanced at the bulletin board. There was an announcement from Imperial Oil. The company would be traveling to the communities for meetings. The date for the Norman Wells was November 7, 2017. Today is November 8th. I missed the party. I wonder when the announcement was posted on the board and if it was in the newspaper? They should have had the announcements out at least two week ago.

We receive our weekly newspaper on Mondays. Or we are supposed to! But it is always late; we received the paper today, Wednesday, the 8th. As you can see, we are not only isolated but we are neglected too.

Anyhow, back to Esso: they planned food and refreshments and conversation with the people. I would like to know how many people attended and who could share that information with me.

In my old clippings, I see I wrote an article on the billions of barrels of oil under the Sahtu. About 1.9 billion barrels of shale oil in two fields in the region, and that is according to the Government of the Northwest Territories and the National Energy Board.

You know, people are wondering why I’m happy about the shale oil especially when Esso is winding down. There is a rumor they will be operating for maybe six years or so. The rumor is: Esso needs tons of water to get the oil out of the sand or something like that. And, you know many people and the environmentalists are against it, but, people will find a way to solve the problem. Someone will figure it out. You walk anywhere in Norman Wells, you see oil and gas seeping through the ground. So, we say, “never say die.” We are going to keep moving and planning and get ready for the day our highway is built. Then you can come for a visit.

By the way, someone asked in News North why Esso has never hired an Aboriginal person as their superintendent at Norman Wells. They would, no doubt, if we had someone who is qualified and educated. You would be surprised at the number of people who have and are still working at Esso. Many have worked for over 30 years. Esso is like family to people in the Sahtu and the Delta region. Many years ago before we had the government, there was only the RCMP. Esso used to open only in the summer months. Back then, the superintendent was Ronald McKinon and he would make sure there were jobs. There was not a lot of equipment in the early days. So there was a lot of rolling the gas and oil drums by hand.

Our dad was a carpenter and he always had work. The money he made at Esso always bought our whole grub stake for the winter.

Things changed after Pearl Harbour when the Americans were fighting the Japanese. The American Army came to keep Norman Wells open year round during the war. Once the war ended and the Americans left the federal government decided to open up the Northwest Territories with a government. Norman Wells went from a hamlet to a village and we are now a town with a mayor and town council. But, we are still an oil town.

I just glanced through our newspaper, which was three days late, and I see Premier Bob McLeod is in Ottawa giving the federal government supreme hell for the way, they are treating our Northwest Territories.

Also, I see Trudeau is out of town again for meetings in Vietnam and other places. I sure wouldn’t want to be in his shoes when he gets back to Canada. Most of the country is angry over the Paradise Papers leaked concerning Canadians and tax evasion by setting up bank accounts in the Bahamas. There are some very big names listed. Trudeau is accused of protecting some of his friends. The opposition is asking questions again, about his holidays at the private island owned by the Aga Khan. Trudeau keeps stating that he is the defender of the middle class. That’s us. Well, we will see what happens when he comes home. We could sure use that money to build a highway!

Anyhow, life goes on and I have had a long day, so I will say bye for now.