An open letter of warning to my FB Friends on the far eastern edge of Canada.


I recall with absolute clarity the weekend in 1976 that Fort McMurray Alberta almost overnight became the refuge of many desperate men & women from Newfoundland. A weekend that foretold how that miraculous Northern Alberta Oilsands town literally became Newfoundland North!

It wasn’t by choice. The Shaheen’s bankruptcy at Come By Chance refinery left many of NL’s most skilled workers suddenly out of work, stuck in a custom built town in new mortgaged homes with no way in hell to pay for them. The O&G industry in Newfoundland was built around that refinery and suddenly it was completely dead!

But in early 1976, the vast Syncrude Oilsands mine was mere months away from officially opening. The local workforce in Fort McMurray were being hired and two unions, IOE 955 and IBEW had just completed the signing of over 80% of the workers with a certification vote scheduled for the following Monday. It was a done deal except for one thing. Syncrude didn’t want to be unionized and there were hundreds of desperate workers in Come By Chance.

Syncrude sent their team out and signed up over 600 workers in less than two days. They gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse. They would buy their Come By Chance houses, build them new homes in Fort McMurray with a company backed mortgage, give them the great new jobs at Syncrude with only one condition.

The two union certification votes would have to be defeated. If not, all the Newfoundland workers would be sent home! So us local 400 or so Syncrude employees were greeted by 600 Newfoundlanders flown in on a Saturday morning. The unions lost the Monday certification votes 60 to 40 percent.

And that was the beginning of the tight relationship between Fort McMurray and Newfoundland Labrador. Our Alberta Oilsands employment opportunities saved them from a desperate life of minimal opportunities for the past 43 years!

When Elizabeth May or Justin Trudeau or Jagmeet Singh come waltzing into Newfoundland and Labrador telling them it’s time to start shutting down the O&G industries, remember the desperate times that those men & women faced in Come By Chance in 1976. Remember how Fort McMurray Alberta became the lifeline that has sustained so many of your family and friends all these decades. Then politely tell the Green, NDP and Liberal candidates to take their Climate Emergency nonsense and get stuffed!

Because as sure as the tide comes in & goes out, fossil fuels will be the reason so many of us enjoy a great life for centuries to come. Long after the outrageous claims of these fools are proven wrong.

On October 21st, whether you’re in a pub in Alberta or Newfoundland, raise a pint or ten with all your CPC buddies and holler “Sociable!” to celebrate our new Prime Minister Scheer’s victory! Because we know in our gut that the opportunity to work and support our families matters more than those ridiculous claims that the planet is going to destroyed by anything we’ve ever done! 😎💪💪💖!

George Clark

Please share, especially with your Newfoundland family & friends, thanks.