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In light of the recent news coming from both within Shell and some from without, I thought I would take a minute and try to speak to it.
Shell is bleeding money, so they say. Look 640 million seems like a lot of money to you and I, but, to Shell which is used to billions….it is just not enough. They have shareholders that expect constant stock growth and right now that is just not a reality. So how they fix this is where we will see if they have good leadership running the ship right now.
Will they make strategic decisions that will lead to long lasting sustainable profits for the corporation or will they cut and cope?
Deciding on 10 refineries, (or 6 depending on which article), seems like a little bit of both strategies. That being said holding onto an asset that is losing money month after month doesn’t seem like a strategic plan either.
Look our Industry has had and will continue to be faced with external and internal challenges. I have said before we are subject to the 3 C’s.
Costs, which is an internal area of challenge. One we have and will continue to struggle with. We are a small refinery and have low through put. The flip side is we have lots of units that allow us to be flexible and make products that the market demand. Right now and for the foreseeable future the market still demands gasoline. Because of being in the Ontario market gasoline and some of the other products we make are in demand. In fact so much so we as a province we import almost half of what the Province consumes. This market gives us decent profits due to this margin and demand.
Climate, this where our certificate of approvals come into play. These are our permissions from the Government as to how much we are allowed to put into the environment. As you are aware with Climate Change and the tightening of policies that the worlds governments have been putting into place to minimize the impact on our climate, directly affects us. This external challenge is a big one as we by nature have large emissions. Emissions that would take huge amount of capital money from Mother Shell to reduce our foot print. Right now, with the lack of profit, getting money is tougher than ever. Couple that with ever increasing demands from external sources to reduce our emissions, this is a serious challenge.
Community, this is the 3rd C. It is how we are received by the greater community in which we reside. How we interact with our community is very important to us maintaining our licence to operate. This external challenge is one for the most part we have been doing well with in the past few years. Fuelling kindness, donations, ongoing interactions with significant groups are all part of how we have been doing well with this challenge. The biggest way we continue to do well here, and for that matter, in all 3 of the C’s, is to not have any spills or product quality issues. If we continue to exist under the radar we have a better chance of continuing to co-exist within our community. Have a spill or raise awareness of ourselves in a negative light outside of our fence and we run the risk of raising poor attention to ourselves. Continue to supply quality products that the market demands and expects and we will continue to be seen in a positive light.
So what does this mean to us?
It is simple. We need to continue to do what we do. Safely make quality products that our market desires.
To continue to work at this site we need to be safe, minimize our impact on our community and shift after shift be the world class labour we are.
Controlling what we can control is all we can do.
If we continue to be one of the most safe and available for utilization refinery in the Shell portfolio and we continue to return profit in an environmentally accepted way….we will continue to stay open.
It really is that simple.
Stay focused, diligent and positive and Shell will continue to see us this way as well and we will continue to be employed here.
Stephen Harper is likely hoping no one pays attention to last week’s Conference Board of Canada health report card.
That’s because the results are a perfect illustration of why his government’s unilaterally imposed changes to the Canada Health Transfer make no logical policy sense. The new formula is per capita based. But as the Conference Board report highlighted, there is a lot more to consider than the number of residents per province.
The Conference Board ranked Canada and its provinces based on health outcomes such as infant mortality and other health status indicators.
British Columbia and Ontario are top-ranked and performed better than Canada as a whole. They certainly fared better than most Atlantic provinces, with Nova Scotia ranked at a D and Newfoundland and Labrador ranked at D -.
Clearly, provincial health outcomes vary. Some provinces report lower life expectancy and greater premature mortality (including infant mortality) due to cancer, or heart disease and stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes or suicides.
Shouldn’t they receive federal funding that reflects the health needs of their populations and not just the size of the population? Not according to the Harper government.
The Conference Board report is clear that health outcomes are a square hole and Stephen Harper has defined health funding as a round peg.
The Harper government continues to push the round peg even when provinces vary on such a simple measure as average age — the Atlantic provinces currently have the highest proportions of seniors (ranging from 15 per cent to 16 per cent), for instance.
The federal government is also completely at odds with the tradition and reputation of Canada — internationally recognized as a leader in the field of social determinants of health.
The Canadian contributions to the social determinants of health concept have been so extensive as to make Canada a “health promotion powerhouse” in the eyes of the international health community according to Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts.
Not so much now, as the Government of Canada declined to even send ministerial representation to the crucial World Conference on Social Determinants of Health gathering of over 100 member states of the United Nations that took place in Brazil in 2011.
The Conference Board’s report clearly shows just how out of step the Harper government’s funding of health care is with the health needs of all Canadians, no matter where they live.
The federal government’s changes to funding will result in a whopping $36-billion cut in health transfers to the provinces over the next 10 years. Nova Scotians will lose over $900 million — cash the province will need to deal with its diverse health needs.
Simply, our health-care system is at a crossroads.
We need a new health accord in order to protect, strengthen and expand our universal health-care system, one that includes a pharmacare program.
In every election, health care is one, of if not the primary, issue that Canadians are concerned about. It is an issue that touches us all, regardless of age or income. If we want to be able to count on high-quality health care for our parents, our children and ourselves, we must make health care a federal election issue.
It is really up to all of us to ensure our health care remains one of those values that define us as Canadians. It’s up to all of us to ensure it survives the Harper government’s neglect. The Conference Board report is just more evidence for why we must stand up for a properly funded health-care system.
Lana Payne is Atlantic regional director of Unifor, a national union representing of 300,000 workers and associate members in various industries.