This is a picture of a scene I have enjoyed often: San Pedro Harbour, Vincent Thomas Bridge, Los Angeles, California. I got a ticket for speeding across this bridge once; cost me all of $50.
But that is nothing by what I have just been “fined.” I have just had to cancel a stay with the Nomad Inn in Fort McMurray (the link to their site works intermittently–too busy charging cancellees.) They charged me a whopping $216 cancellation fee. Can’t say I have ever had that happen to me before: you know, cancel 36 hours before you sign in and you get whacked with a fee greater than the cost of your room. True, the young girl was “new here”, and she also said sorry, but that hardly constitutes the kind of service intended to incline you to return to the hotel.
But then I suppose they just do not care. This is the oil sands patch and there is no shortage of people wanting rooms and cars and services. Screw the customer: make a buck of them and punish them if they do not come. It kind of reminds you of the truth of the plea by the (obviously) old time Saskatchewan resident who writes with (obvious) horror:
And who wants to deflate the Sask Party agenda to make Saskatchewan into another Alberta? And yes, you read correctly: 12 million people live in Alberta. I’ve forgotten the number for Saskatchewan [one million]. Equally chilling.
The writer of the above is decrying the shortage of water on the Prairies, the amount the oil sands industry uses, and how more people to that sparsely populated region will cause Alberta and Saskatchewan to “run out of stuff on the last frontier?”
I have spent many years in Los Angeles and all those other places in the United States that Canadians consider too dangerous to visit. Or at least too crowded, or too short of water. Never have I had to pay a cancellation fee greater than the cost of the room. But then in those “dangerous” places there is lots of competition for clients, and a client focus that has not yet taken heart in the oil mining towns. Here is a picture of a fire in Los Angeles that will bolster their claims that the place is terminally dangerous.
There is something so depressing about the negativity that leads to $216 cancellation fees and cries that 12 million people are too many. Both are but pointers to a society in the grips of fear and rejection of change. Clearly not the majority of Albertans nor the majority of folk in Saskatchewan are negative. They are doing great things developing the mines and water resources of their provinces. But still, scratch below the surface and a profound fear of change, a deep-seated rejection of more people, and a conservatism at odds with the cities of Canada is quick to surface.
There is nothing you or I can do about it, other than pay the $216, avoid the hotel in future (if possible) ,and let the asylum seekers stream across the border as the Red Cross welcomes them and helps blend them into the 12 million.