HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: Climate change — the Alberta solution By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 15, 2020

The virus may dominate the headlines, but Alberta’s biggest battle still looms. If we do not gain the “social licence” to produce environmentally acceptable oil and gas, we might as well pack up and leave Alberta now rather than later. We face a staggering enemy, outnumbered even within Canada by those in provinces like  Quebec, Ontario, B.C. Those who believe fossil fuels must be phased out and replaced by renewable energy if the Earth is not to turn into one giant, overheated Sahara Desert. It is hugely frustrating, because Alberta is a world leader in “de-carbonizing” our oil and gas production, in creating products from fossil fuels WITHOUT releasing CO2 into the air. There is a little snowball happening, about 45 kilometres northeast of Edmonton. STORY CONTINUES BELOW A little snowball that must grow into an avalanche of positive proof: That the processing of oil and gas can be as pure and clean as driven snow. Coming up shortly are anno ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Why a post-COVID-19 real estate collapse is not going to happen By Graham Hicks first published: May 8, 2020

Edmonton's housing market started out strong in March, but ended with an overall decline of two per cent compared to last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.File Predictions of doom in the post-COVID Canadian real estate market have to be questioned … as do visions of sunshine and roses. On the gloom side, analysts argue COVID will be the straw that breaks the back of Vancouver and Toronto’s real estate prices, prices that have defied normal cycles by going up, up, up over the last 20 years with no major corrections. A real-estate crash in those two cities would send the Canadian economy reeling – a knock-out punch on top of the financial burden caused by the COVID crisis. A more convincing counter-argument says the financial storm will be minor. Thanks to COVID spending by governments, especially shoring up banks, things will return to “normal” (with way more debt, but nobody seems to care) in a year’s time. A sobering statistic: Until a few years ago, rea ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Northern Alberta’s pot industry — the euphoria is gone, but the buzz isn’t bad By Graham Hicks, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 2, 2020

Staff harvests cannabis at the Freedom Cannabis facility in Acheson, Alberta on Sept. 21, 2019.David_Bloom / Postmedia With all eyes on the COVID-19 crisis, the fledgling Northern Alberta cannabis industry has been slowly crawling toward some degree of normalcy. There are now 125 cannabis retail stores in Metropolitan Edmonton, which were allowed to stay open during the virus-combating lock-down (subject to COVID distancing and other preventative measures). Surprise, surprise, cannabis product sales have jumped, an estimated 20 per cent bump over expect ations. If every night is a Saturday night … While analysts gloomily say the gross revenue from 2020 Canada’s country-wide pot sales won’t  be close to pre-COVID  forecasts of $3.5 billion, and more likely at $2.5 billion, things are not so dire on the local scene. STORY CONTINUES BELOW A container of buds at the SpiritLeaf cannabis bud bar retail store in Edmonton on July 12, 201 ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Prosperity will return after COVID-19, but will we still be around? By Graham Hicks, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 24, 2020

Chief Jim Badger said Sucker Creek First Nation is well prepared to deal with the single COVID-19 case since the individual was infected from a connection in High Prairie and is now self-isolating.NIAID-RML / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Despite the current COVID-19 and oil/gas malaise, Alberta has survived and eventually prospered after every economic downtown since it became a province in 1905, and even before that, through the boom-bust cycles of the 19th Century fur trade totally dependent on the whims of European haberdashery. “Of course we’ll recover,” says a retired friend. “But will I be around to see it?” BUY AT THE BOTTOM, SELL AT THE TOP The bad news is the stock market crash a few weeks ago. The good news – never talked about – are the careful investors who kept a chunk of their holdings in cash and are now happily buying blue-chip stocks at a fraction of their 2019 prices. For all the complexities, stock market investment follows a predicta ... Read the rest of entry »