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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

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22 Grande Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, March 8, 2011 GrandePrairie Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The future looks bright Fred Rinne Herald-Tribune Editor-in-Chief

The Peace Country is set to roll again. The global economic recession hit us hard, but one dynamic that made this last go-round easier to stomach than the slap back in the 1980s is our diversification. Then, when the bottom fell out of the energy industry, thanks to world markets and Ottawa policy, a booming economy here fell like a house of cheap cards. This time out, while it is true the oilpatch took a big hit, the fact that development in other sectors – service, retail, agriculture, forestry, and tourism, helped to soften the blow. While we are not out of the proverbial woods yet, things are looking much brighter. Alberta’s energy sector has rebounded big time, with $100-a barrel oil a reality. While natural gas prices have remained somewhat stagnant, some industry analysts suggests that this can actually help the oilpatch overall as it takes energy to make energy. One thing that is not helping is our dollar being so strong. Weird to say, isn’t it? But exports especially to the States are buoyed when the American Greenback is worth more than our buck... around 92 cents, some analysts suggest.

With three big forestry players in our community, clearly a healthier American economy would be nice, but even so the projections for Weyerhaeuser, Ainsworth and Canfor are more rosy than they have been in many years. Agriculture remains a baseline root of our economic community. The benefit of the onslaught of snow this winter is that our moisture table is getting back to normalcy, something that hasn’t been the case for many years. The commodity market for crops grown in the Peace Country is promising, especially in the area of canola, flax, wheat, barley and oats. Tourism continues to be a growth industry for the Peace. The advent of the River of Death and Discovery Dinosaur Museum near Wembley will open a market that we haven’t taken full advantage of. Drumheller north, if you will, joining the network of archaelogical and paleontological interpretive centres, will bring visitors and their dollars. But tourism is more than people in family SUV’s toting cameras and sunglasses. It’s day shoppers, sports teams, GPRC, theatre and concerts. There is plenty of potential there as well. Let’s face it, the best growth potential in this province and others remains in the north. Opening up new transportation links and improving infrastructure and services –

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Grande Prairie DailyDaily Herald-Tribune March Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune• Tuesday, • Tuesday, March8,8,2011 2011


Forest industry showing signs of turnaround Upward trend is encouraging but industry not quite out of the woods yet. Remo Zaccagna Herald-Tribune staff A f ter more t han t hree years of declining fortunes, the forest industry began to show signs of a turnaround in 2010, but it isn’t out of the woods just yet. According to year-end Alberta Forest Products Association figures, shipments of lumber, panelboard and pulp and paper manufactured by member companies totaled $2.3 billion, up from $1.9 billion in 2009. T h e A F PA a t t r i b u t e d t h e increase to strong pulp and paper prices, increased volume and a climbing dema nd for lumber, leading to renewed optimism in the industry. “Generally, the trend is encourag ing,” said Brady W hit ta ker, AFPA President and CEO. “Ever y quar ter t his year was bet ter t ha n t he cor res p ond i n g q u a r t e r f or 2 0 0 9.” Prices for lumber and panel products like plywood, oriented strand board, and medium-density fibreboard rose considerably in early spring before falling as the year wore on and still remain relatively low, although they did rebound in the fourth quarter. Total shipments of all products,

however, dipped 3% in the fourth quarter of 2010 when compared to the third. “I would like to see every quarter better than the last, but the reality is that is not always going to happen,” Whittaker said. “The pulp market has been performing very strongly, but it backed off a bit in the fourth quarter. That has put our numbers down slightly for this quarter.” According to the AFPA, member companies shipped 2.8 billion board feet of lumber in 2010 at a value of $740 million, up from $520 million in 2009. Tot a l sh ipment s dec rea sed 7.1% in the fourth quarter from t he t h i rd, but st ronger pr ices MICHAEL SUTHERLAND-SHAW Herald-Tribune staff pushed values up $19 million. A log deck forms a wall along the east side of Canfor’s giant Wapiti Road yard in Grande Prairie. The industry has Panelboard operators produced experienced a turnaround this year after more than three years of declining fortunes. 1.1 billion square feet of 7/16-inch dailyher equivalent product in 2010, a 2.6% dai decline, but up 8.5% in value The proud to have dailyheraldtribune. $303.5 million. served the peace com dailyheraldtri However, its value f luctuated dailyher country's industrial wildly from the second quarter dai community the fourth. COMMERCIAL dailyheraldtribune. for over 37 years • THERMODOR (R VALUE UP TO 16) “For OSB it was certainly a heck com dailyheraldtri • STEEL & ALUMINUM DOORS dailyher of a ride,” said Dave Lefebv re, • ELECTRIC DOOR & GATE OPENERS dai spokesman for Canfor Corp. • ROLLING STEEL DOORS • SECURITY GRILLES dailyheraldtribune. Vancouver. dailyheraldtri “I’d say i n t he fou r tcom h qua rRESIDENTIAL dailyher • THERMOCRAFT ter of 20 0 9, pr ic es st r ted DOORS dai (R-VALUE UP TO 16) creep up, and then in the first • STEEL dailyheraldtribune. EMBOSSED DOORS • ELECTRICdailyheraldtri OPENERS and second quarter (2010) they com • ROLLING SHUTTERS went muc h h ig her t ha n a dailyheraldtribune. body expected, and then EMERGENCY SERVICE comstayed dailyheraldtri daily • QUALITY & WORKMANSHIP GUARANTEED • SERVICE ON ALL MAKES & MODELS there for a period of a number of 8215-93 ST., FORT ST. JOHN, BC 9521-90 AVE., PEACE RIVER 8702 -111A ST., GRANDE PRAIRIE weeks, which was also a surprise dailyheraldtribune. FAX: (250) 787-0236 FAX: (780) 624-1081 FAX: (780) 532-8150 dailyheraldtri and then they came backcomdown.” (250)787-0216 (780)624-8089 (780)532-9350

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GrandePrairie Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, 8, 2011 44 Grande Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, MarchMarch 8, 2011


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On the road to recovery ...Continued from Page 3 The value of pulp and paper produced by AFPA mills in 2010 was nearly $1.3 billion, up $213.5 million even though production decreased by 66,000 air-dried metric tones. “A s e v er y b o d y k now s, pu lp pr ic e s were strong this year ... There’s no doubt about it, so that was certainly fortunate,” said Wayne Roznowsk y, spokesman for the Grande Prairie Weyerhaeuser mill. “You can’t say the same thing for prices for lumber this year. We did have that runup in the spring, but after that it certainly declined.” Despite the relatively low lumber prices, Bruce Gibson of Ainsworth said it’s important to look at them with context. “The lumber price that we’re seeing right now is fairly good for where we are at,” he said. “Obviously it can be better, but considering where we’ve been for the last three years, it’s nice to be in a positive territory when it comes to prices.”

Good year for local mills As a result of the slowly improving economy and turnaround in the forest industry, all three major mills in the Grande Prairie area had a relatively good 2010, with no market- related curtailments, as was the case in 2009. “A s a compa ny as a whole, we were happy w it h t he year, our expectations were e x c eeded i n ou r over sea s m a rket s, a nd t h at helped m it igate some of cha l lenges t hat we st i l l saw i n t he U.S. over the past year,” Lefebvre said. “For Grande Prairie, specifically, like all of our operations, it saw good productivity and the employees obviously did a lot of hard work throughout the year.” “For the Ainsworth mill it was a very good year. They ran 24/7 throughout the entire year, which is excellent,” Gibson said. “We just completed (in December) a major project on the press to simplify it. It’s 15 years old, and we gave it a major overhaul, which is great, which should lead to a really promising new year there.” Housing start numbers that remain low south of the border is one of, if not the biggest challenge facing Grande Prairie-area operators and the entire industry. “The industry is still not exactly where we would like it to be, but things are definitely headed in the right direction,” Whittaker said. “We still need the American economy to recover to ensure long-term viability for the industry.”

Challenges ahead Roznowsky said another significant challenge is the parity that the Canadian dollar has with the U.S. greenback. “It’s significant to the bottom line for us.

We can control costs; we can control production, that’s what we can control. We can’t control prices, and we can’t control currency.” Wayne Roznowsky, Weyerhaeuser

Prices are based in American dollars and so it’s a big deal,” he said. “Without getting into specifics, a one-cent change in currency is worth millions of dollars in our site on an annual basis. “We can control costs; we can control production, that’s what we can control. We can’t control prices, and we can’t control currency,” he added. “So we just have to continually reduce costs, look for ways to be more efficient, incrementally increase production, and just get better. That’s what it’s all about.” Lefebvre said he feels the industry has turned a corner in 2010 over “by far the worst downturn that this industry has experienced,” and said 2011 should continue that trend. “How I would describe it? I would say we feel that we’re beginning the road to recovery. We really are at the early stages and we believe that next year that recovery will continue, but it’s going to be a long road,” he said. “We don’t expect it to turn around incredibly quickly. We’re mindful of the fact that the last three years were extremely challenging.” Pent-up demand south of the border will lead to an increase in housing starts, Gibson said, which should help accelerate that recovery for the forest industry. “When I look at the housing starts in the U.S. specifically, they’ve been at historically low levels for two years now,” he said. “I think that as people in North America become more confident and they psychologically adjust to a higher unemployment level and balance their own personal financial situations, I think people will start to buy homes again.” The wild card, at least as far as Alberta operators are concerned, is what effect – if any – the mountain pine beetle will have in 2011. “It’s an ongoing issue for us,” Roznowsky said. “It’s still a significant impact, but the good news is that there was no flyover, the bad news is that the beetle did better here than elsewhere in Alberta. “So we’re certainly not out of the woods by any means.”

Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • •Tuesday, Tuesday,March March 8, 8, 2011 2011 Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune

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66 Grande Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, March 8, 2011 GrandePrairie Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Geography great for retail Remo Zaccagna Herald-Tribune staff

Much has been made in the past of the fairly insular nature of Grande Prairie’s four pillars of industry. Indeed, while the oil and gas, forestry, agriculture, and retail industries all took a hit during the economic crisis and recession, each has had varying degrees of success during the same period when compared to the rest of Canada. However, given certain factors like proximity to the B.C. border, the local retail industry is perhaps the one pillar that has been left relatively unscathed since the economy took a turn for the worse in later 2008. In that time, a number of major retail chains have set up shop in Grande Prairie, including Best Buy, Wholesale Sports Outdoor Outfitters, and HMV, which will be opening in the Prairie Mall later this month. “I think for Grande Prairie it’s geographically positioned, ideally actually, because we serve not just the city, but we serve the surrounding area. And being so close to the B.C. border, we serve that northeastern B.C. market as well,” said Lionel Frey, marketing director for the Prairie Mall. “Really there’s a lot of different choices that they have here, there’s a lot of franMichael Sutherland-Shaw Herald-Tribune staff

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retailers in the Prairie Mall and throughout Grande Prairie serve a wide range of customers from the entire Peace country including the B.c. Peace. chises that have set up in Grande Prairie, so when it comes to selection, there was a time when Grande Prairie didn’t really compare to Edmonton, but now that’s changed significantly in the last 10 years and I think people see that.”

The recently introduced Harmonized Sales Tax in B.C. combined with the lack of a sales tax in Alberta have created a near perfect set of conditions for the Grande Prairie retail industry. ...Continued on Page 7

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Downtown core an invaluable asset in overall retail industry ...Continued from Page 6 “So for a lot of consumers in that area looking to escape the H.S.T., obviously Grande Prairie is the next largest centre that they can come to,” Frey said. “There’s certainly some value buying here as opposed to paying the additional tax in B.C.” And Prairie Mall, as the only enclosed retail centre of its kind in Alberta north of Edmonton, plays an important role in the overall health of the local industry. “We have merchants that are not only local, but national and multi-national companies. I think it’s important for a growing centre like Grande Prairie to have a retail choice like that,” Frey said. But retail outlets have been sprouting up across the city, notably on the western edge, where the Grande Prairie Power Centre, on the southwest corner of Highway 43 and 116 Street across from Costco, has a number of major tenants like Future Shop and Petsmart. The downtown area remains an invaluable asset in the overall retail

We have merchants that are not only local, but national and multi-national companies. I think it’s important for a growing centre like Grande Prairie to have a retail choice like that,.” Lionel Frey, Prairie Mall

industry, said Helen Rice, executive director of the DownTown Association. “Downtown prides itself on being, we say ‘big city quality and selection and small town value’ so customer service and things like that. And these are the type of people that ensure that that reputation remains intact,” she said. Rice said last year was a fairly strong one for downtown merchants and she expects that trend to continue in 2011. “It was very good, actually,” she said. “We were a little nervous because of the downturn in the economy, but we’re really seeing strong recovery signs.” The DownTown Association recently named Adele Bonetti, a senior designer at Concetto Interi-

ors, the 2010 DownTowner of the Year and she said she has not seen the economic downturn reflected in the downtown core. “When you live and work downtown, so to speak, when you’re here every day, you see some very significant changes. The York Hotel went, a couple of years previous Germain Park went, the Farmers’ Market was revitalized but there’s a lot of little things that happen every day,” she said. “I don’t think that even through the downturn, as we sort of think of it, it ever lost its vitality,” she added. “And then it can start to renew itself in ways like the York Hotel change and the Farmers’ Market revitalization.”

Michael Sutherland-Shaw Herald-Tribune staff

Grande Prairie’s downtown core remains a vital part of the retail industry in the city


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Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, 8, 2011 88 Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, MarchMarch 8, 2011

Optimism growing in agriculture sector Remo Zaccagna Herald-Tribune staff While drought has ravaged the agriculture industry in the Peace Countr y the last several years, there has been optimism that fortunes are turning. Grain and oilseed prices have been on the rise in recent months with wheat and canola receipts increasing 25% and 35% respectively in 2010, in part due to poor weather in key producing nations. Cattle prices also increased in 2010, leading to positive feelings from producers that the worst may be over. And although it’s too early to tell, levels of snow in the Peace Country could be a signal that more conducive weather for agriculture is on the way. “That’s our first hope is that we get better weather and that we end up having decent hay crops and grain crops,” said Roland Cailliau of Valleyview, director of Zone 9 of Alberta Beef Producers, which includes the region. “The snow will help, but we’re still going to need some very substantial rains during the spring

and summer,” he added. “Our soil moistures in the Peace Country are so depleted right now that we are in need of probably at least 10 inches of rain during the summer to give us a good growing season.” Statistics Canada reported that as of July 1, there were approximately 5.5 million head of cattle on Alberta farms, a 5.6% decline from the 5.8 million a year ago, which represents a sharp decline from the peak of 6.7 million head in 2005. Additionally, Alberta signed on as part of the $1 National CheckOff program, a mandatory, nonrefundable levy on beef and beef products that will be used to market and promote these products domestically and internationally. And Canadian beef saw increased market access internationally, particularly in the growing Asian market. “I get a sense that there’s a lot more optimism today in the cattle industry than there’s been for quite a number of years,” said Travis Toews of Beaverlodge, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. ...Continued on Page 9

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There seems to be much more optimism in the cattle sector than in the past few years, says Beaverlodge’s Travis Toews, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.


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Peace Country cattle producers welcomed the recent announcement of government funding to help feed their cattle after years of drought conditions.

Cattle prices improving; drought relief welcomed ...Continued from Page 8 “That’s attributed to the fact that cattle supplies and numbers have really been declining in North America, and in fact globally. “And we’re starting to see cattle prices really improve due to very tight numbers in North America, not just in the Peace Country, not just in Canada, but most importantly in the U.S.” More recently, the provincial and federal governments offered relief for suffering Peace Country cattle producers in the form of $25 million from Canada-Alberta Feed Transportation program. Livestock producers will be eligible for up to 22 cents per ton/mile to bring feed in to the animals or 10 cents per head per loaded mile to bring the animals to the feed - whichever makes sense for each individual operation. The program is retroactive from Sept. 1 and eligible producers have to have the feed hauled in by March 31. “We’re thankful that the governments came through with this, but it would have been a lot better and been able to be managed a lot more efficiently if we had known about this several months ago,” Cailliau said, noting that this program should have been announced before Christmas for maximum effect.

“There are a lot of people who sold their cows simply because of breeding stock, simply because they didn’t feel that they could afford to bring the feed in the distances that needed to be hauled into and so they just sold their cows off. If they had had that choice maybe three or four months ago, maybe they would have said ‘well, we’ll buy the feed and we’ll truck it in and keep our cows.’” Regardless, Cailliau said the relief is welcome news for the local industry, citing statistics that show that approximately 10% of the cattle in Alberta came from the Peace Country. “It’s very important to the industry. There are a lot of calves that come out of this country and beef is very important to the agricultural industry within the Peace Country,” he said. “I think we’re probably looking at about a third to maybe a quarter – probably about a quarter – of the income in the Peace Country comes from the cattle industry.”

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10 Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, March 8, 2011 10 Grande GrandePrairie Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Green energy project begins this month Remo Zaccagna Herald-Tribune staff Work on a $50 million green energy project at the Grande Prairie Weyerhaeuser pulp and paper mill is scheduled to begin later this month. The new turbine generator will replace one that is almost 35 years old and is expected to add four megawatts of electricity into the provincial grid and reduce emissions by 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) It is expected to come on line in April. “Right now we’re gearing for mid-March, but I’m hesitant to give you a day, whether it’s March 15, 16, 17, or 20,” said mill spokesman Wayne Roznowsky. “We’re going through the commissioning process. There are a number of steps that you have to be taking and actually one of the major ones was bringing on the new capacitator online and that happened last week,” he added. “So we’re progressing and we’re hoping mid-March, which would be in the range of a couple of weeks.”

The Grande Prairie Weyerhaeuser pulp mill received $32 million in October 2009 for the project, as part of the federal government’s $1 billion Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program, which is aimed at improving producers’ energy efficiency or environmental performance. The province kicked in $4.5 million, with Weyerhaeuser investing the remaining $13.5 million. When the project was initially announced in December, Wayne Drysdale, MLA for Grande Prairie-Wapiti, said the project was a vote of confidence for the region. “Weyerhaeuser is an American company mostly, and we’re in economically tough times right now, so to see a company of that size investing in Grande Prairie I think means good for our region,” he said. “It’s creating jobs but it’s also saying we’ve got a good future here. Otherwise they wouldn’t be spending (the money), because I think they had a hard time finding that kind of money for capital, in Canada especially.” The provincial government is also investing more than $5 million in an evaporator project at Weyerhaeuser, which will be used in con-

DHT File Photo

The Grande Prairie Weyerhaeuser pulp and paper mill will be getting a new turbine generator that will replace one that is almost 35 years old. junction with the turbine generator tonnes. Roznowsky said. and create an additional 23 mega“In the cooking process, you “But it also sets us up for the watts of electricity for the grid and e n d u p c o o k i ng t re e s, c o o k- next step, which is the evaporator reduce CO2 emissions by 127,000 ing chips, and you generate a project that comes online in 2012, black liquor,dailyheraldtri and you burn that that will free 100,000 pounds of com dailyher in the boiler,” said Aleasa Tasker, steam an hour, which will give us dai site manager and vice-presi- the ability to do another additional dailyheraldtribune. dent of the Grande Prairie mill. 23 megawatts of power.” com dailyheraldtri “But in order to burn it you have to As the only pulp and paper dailyher evaporate it. We’re going to evapo- mill Weyerhaeuser has in dai rate it to 80% solids (in the evap- ada, Roznowsky said this project is dailyheraldtribune. orator train). When it goes into the “essential” to the mill’s long-term com dailyheraldtri boiler it burns more efficiently.” plans. Grounddailyheraldtribune. will be broken on that “When you talk about the viabilcom dailyheraldtri project in the spring and it will ity of this facility, you need a daily come line in May 2012. bine,” he said. dailyheraldtribune. “What this turbine does is give “We are in a very good position. com dailyheraldtri a new, high-efficiency turbine This is very important for this dailyher dai one we had and replacing the old ity and for its long-term viability. at the mill. It has greater capac- This is very significant, because we dailyheraldtribune. ity and it willdailyheraldtri give us, just by effi- are replacing a lot of vital parts of com ciency alone, wedailyher add four mega- a mill with newer, more efficient com watts of electricity, just with the equipment.” dailyheraldtribune. same steam dailyheraldtri load we have now,” com

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12 Grande Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, 8, 2011 12 Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, MarchMarch 8, 2011

The changing face of media Michael Sutherland-Shaw Herald-Tribune staff

“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” No truer words have been spoken more specifically when referencing the changes within the Daily Herald-Tribune newsroom. Over the past six months the DHT has gone through a major shift in the way it identifies itself because as the newspaper industry continues to evolve, so do its readers. With the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle no longer is the DHT just a daily newspaper. The Internet has changed the face of business on a global spectrum and the DHT is no different. With continuous additions to their website (, readers have access to more information than ever before. Everything from multimedia to special sections (previously only available in the print edition) the DHT online presence is growing exponentially. One example of these changes

is the recent addition of a weekly council meetings, court trials, audio podcast which recaps the hockey games and everything in previous week in news and between. sports. DHT readUtilizing these tools ers are now ha s ma d e t h e D H T never left current with breakin the dark ing news as well as rairie offering features not about anyP e d n The Gra une in its true o f f e re d a ny w h e re thing affectb ri -T re e ld h w era else. ing Grande Daily H rmat from any fo orld. printed Prair ie and Rather than waitin the w i ng for the daily its surroundm o .c e n ldtribu print edition, the ing areas. The ilyhera a .d n eeditio DHT offers readers podcast can be the chance to know what’s found both on going on at all times in the Peace the DHT’s website as well as its Facebook page. Country. With that being said the growth “No matter your platform of of social media sites like Face- choice, you will be able to access book and Twitter, the landscape of information when you want it,” said who controls the news is no longer Daily Herald-Tribune publisher dependent solely on journalists. Amber Ogilvie. “The DHT offers Bloggers and social media enthu- its readers not only a daily print siasts alike have the freedom via edition but also multimedia supthe Internet to post whatever and plements as we move away from whenever, newspapers have had to strictly a print edition and become embrace change so as to compete a complete news agency.” with those “citizen journalists.” No longer should the Daily HerAs news is broken almost instan- ald-Tribune be known as Grande taneously over Twitter and the like, Prairie’s newspaper but as a media DHT reporters can be followed outlet where readers can get print, Tweeting from city and county audio and video all in one spot – a

centralized medium conglomerate.

Look to the future

Video is the next step in the DHT’s continued growth. It will begin to offer readers another outlet for news consumption making the Daily Herald-Tribune like no other media organization in the city. Not only will the DHT have its own local presence in the broadcast field, but “Corporately with the launch of Sun TV, integrating all of our resources and information sources coast to coast and delivering a strong and independent voice of commentary on issues well all share as Canadians,” said Ogilivie. The framework of the Sun Media chain will also continue to expand and only become stronger with the addition of Sun New TV. Pierre Karl Péladeau, president and CEO of Quebecor Inc., echoes this message. “Far too many Canadians are tuning out completely or changing their dials to American all-news channels. They’re opting out or switching over. That’s not good for dai Canadian television. It’s not good

for Canadian democracy. And it’s not good for Canada itself,” said Péladeau. “Quebecor sees an untapped market opportunity in English Canadian T V news. We see an opportunity in offering Canadians something new, something better, something distinct. It is time to shake up the current players of the Canadian broadcasting system. It’s time for a new choice, a new voice. It’s time for SUN TV News.” So as the DHT continues to grow, changes are a part of that. With that being said, the DHT asks for its readers to grow with the company. Utilize the website, have your voice be heard as the DHT is only as good as those who read it. With the growing popularity of Facebook and Twitter, the DHT will only continue to further its web presence and with that, so should its readers. Why not join the more than 80,000 unique visitors who went to in January for news or the more than 1,200 followers who received continued updates on Facebook as the DHT moves forward as a complete news agency. dailyheraldtribune. com dailyheraldtri dailyher dai dailyheraldtribune. com dailyheraldtri dailyher dai dailyheraldtribune. com dailyheraldtri dailyher dai dailyheraldtribune. com dailyheraldtri podcast dailyher dai dailyheraldtribune. com dailyheraldtri dailyheraldtribune. com dailyheraldtri daily week’s top stories in audio format every Friday on dailyheraldtribune.comThe dailyheraldtribune. com dailyheraldtri dailyher

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Grande Prairie DailyDaily Herald-Tribune March Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune• Tuesday, • Tuesday, March8,8,2011 2011

Oil and gas sector activity picking up Remo Zaccagna Herald-Tribune staff With spring break-up on the horizon, the winter drilling season in the Grande Prairie region has been fairly active, even with natural gas process well below profitable margins. Natural gas prices are hovering below $4 per million Btu, well below the break-even point, and that has had an effect on the local drilling industry, said Rob Petrone, president of the Grande Prairie Petroleum Association. But activity has picked up in the last few months and is running relatively well, Petrone said. “It’s a supply and demand and there’s just an oversupply right now of natural gas and we don’t see that changing for the next while, that’s for sure,” he said. “The drilling is pretty well on par for gas in this area, the same as last year. We’re going fine,” Petrone added. “But most of the producing companies have switched their focus from natural gas to liq-

uid rich or oil type plays. So that’s where most of the activities are focused on.” Last month, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada updated its 2011 drilling forecast that it originally made in November. PSAC forecast 12,750 wells would be drilled in Canada in 2011, up 500 wells from its November forecast. Provincially, it forecast 8,390 wells in Alberta this year, a 3% increase. Petrone said he doesn’t think those new numbers will be translated to the Grande Prairie region. “I don’t think it will have a major impact on the number of wells drilled in our area. The majority of that would be liquid rich gas or oil. The price of oil is so strong that that’s where the focus is shifting to,” he said. “The majority of those wells that they talked about would be chasing oil plays, which isn’t predominately in this area.” ...Continued on Page 14

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Oil creating excitement in the industry ...Continued from Page 13 Da n Su m ner, a n econom ist with ATB Financial, echoed that assessment. “Whereas earlier in the decade surging gas prices drove activity, almost all the excitement in 2011 is on the oil side of the equation,” he said. “This sentiment is also showing up in the data with oil wells accounting for over half the wells drilled currently compared to less than 25% from 2003-2006.” Gary Leach, executive director of Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, said while the drilling numbers are lower than during the boom period in t he middle of t he last decade, they’re not comparable because technology has changed to make drilling more efficient and environmenta lly f riendly, and t he PSAC figures may not reflect the full level of activity in Alberta. “We may never get to the sheer numbers of wells drilled that we had five or six years ago, but that’s because we’re drilling more horizontal wells, and more multilateral wells, and the expansion costs and the complexity of those

wells is quite a bit more significant than in a vertical well,” he explained. Meanwhile, the Alberta government is stepping closer to creating a single oil and gas regulatory body. As part of an overall competitiveness review undertaken last year, a “regulatory enhancement task force” delivered a set of recommendations to Energy Minister Ron Liepert. Among the biggest departures from the current process, the task force recommended the creation of the single regulatory body. Currently, certain aspects of oil and gas activity in the province are under the purview of the Energy Resources Conservation Board, the Energ y department, and the department of Sustainable Resource Development. “(There’s) a lot of bureaucracy right now and that does impact on timelines, no doubt about it, so if there’s opportunities to streaml i ne a nd ge t de c i s ion s m ade quicker then I think it’ll benefit everybody,” Petrone said. ...Continued on Page 16

DHT File Photo

Gas plants such as the Conoco-Phillips operation in Elmworth speak to the large gas plays found in Northern Alberta.

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Industry ready to help streamline process ...Continued from Page 14 The idea of a single regulatory entity was also met with approval outside of Grande Prairie. “Our view is that we can improve the efficiency of the system without compromising protecting the public and protecting the environment,” Leach said. “We think this is an important step in setting up a framework that will work towards those goals. We think it makes sense to find efficiencies with a single regulatory, so we approve.” Other recommendations include establishing a new policy management office and better integrating natural resources policies; providing clear public engagement processes; adopting a common approach to risk assessment and management; and adopting performance measures to achieve continuous improvement.

Resolution mechanism One recommendation that piqued Leach’s interest was one to create a mechanism to resolve and enforce disputes between land-

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owners and companies. “T hat may be somet h i ng novel, but we haven’t seen much detail,” he said. Liepert said the recommendations will undergo a review process and legislation “will be introduced this spring to begin implementation of the report.” Leach said it was a good first step by the government to lessen the regulatory burden on producers, but results may not be seen for years. “It’s going to take several years, actually, to implement all this. This is really just a report, kind of a high-level report,” he said. “I think for a province where energy investment is such a huge driver of the economy, our regulatory system needs to be an enabler of resource development, not a barrier.” Petrone said industry is ready to work with the government to help streamline the entire process. “It’s very critical for us to continue working with government to run our business, so we’ll adapt and adjust to whatever changes come our way.”

DHT File Photo

Marvin Ha works on cladding for the rafters of a house near 96 Street and 100 Avenue last summer. This year looks to be a good one for the local construction industry as housing starts are once again on the rise

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Grande Prairie DailyDaily Herald-Tribune March Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune• Tuesday, • Tuesday, March8,8,2011 2011

17 17

Tourism a growing industry in the Peace Eric Plummer Herald-Tribune staff

DHT File Photo

Grande Prairie’s Centre 2000 is home to the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association visitors information centre.

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People are finding more reason to travel to Grande Prairie, according to last year’s tourism visitation numbers and federal economic indicators. The tourism industry in northern Alberta has traditionally been an underdog in comparison to other regions of the province, attracting an average of 6% of the vacationers travelling in Alberta in recent years. But a recently completed study of the economic impact of tourism conducted by the federal government is giving the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association reason for optimism. “It’s extremely favourable,” said the association’s executive director Emilia Hovorka of the report, set for public release later this month. “It shows an industry, it shows that there actually is tourism here.” The tourism association is also pleased with the number of visits to the information centre in Centre 2000 last year. In 2010 the Visitor Information Centre did 9,865 consultations with individuals or groups, show-

ing a rise of 30% over the previous year, and a 43% increase during the summer months. “Another thing that brings visitors into the region in the summer is camping, we’ve got a lot of campgrounds,” Hovorka said. “A lot of people are driving through to go to Alaska.” Just over half of last year’s visitors to the tourism association came from Alberta, and one quarter journeyed to Grande Prairie from other parts of the country. “One of the number one things that people come into the city for is for shopping,” added Hovorka. “We have people that come in from the (North West) Territories, the Yukon.” Seventy three percent of these visitors had a flexible itinerary while in the Grande Prairie area. “People that are coming in here are looking for things to do, and we can convince them to do that,” Hovorka said. The summer’s tourism season begins with the Grande Prairie Stompede, considered one of the biggest events in the area each year and normally attracting 30,000 spectators over the course of the week-long event. ...Continued on Page 18

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Dino museum will add to tourism attractions ...Continued from Page 17 Ken Loudon, president of Grande Prairie’s tourism association, has seen a rise in the value of advertising space on chuckwagons used in the Stompede. “That’s definitely an indicator that it’s growing in popularity,” he said. “More companies are getting involved and trying to purchase a bid on them.” T he tou r ism i ndust r y i n t he a rea is expected a transformation in the future with the opening of the River of Death and Discover y Dinosaur Museum in Wembley, set to open Dec. 31 2012. Loudon predicts that this museum will infuse Wembley with business opportunities, and transform Grande Prairie into a tourist destination in a similar fashion to what happened in Drum-

heller when the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology opened. “It’s going to basically put us as a regional destination,” he said. “The development of that is going to springboard into other avenues and other developments around that area.” Although Edmonton is the closest city to Grande Prairie, 450 kilometres southeast, Loudon believes that the Peace Country is becoming more reachable as a destination for travellers. “With the twinning of the highway now it’s more accessible,” he said. “The challenge is always getting the word out of what we have to offer, but people in the last few years have discovered the north.” dailyheraldtribune. om dailyheraldtri dailyheraldtribune. om dailyheraldtri daily dailyheraldtribune.

DHT File Photo

The Grande Prairie Stompede is one of the first events that kicks off the tourism season in the Peace Country every summer.

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Grande Prairie DailyDaily Herald-Tribune March Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune• Tuesday, • Tuesday, March8,8,2011 2011

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Albertans not ready to part with pickups Herald-Tribune staff Albertans are expected to remain loyal buyers of pickup trucks, despite consistently rising fuel prices, says the chief economist of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association. “If you are a truck buyer, you are a truck buyer, for the most part,” said Michael Hatch in a conference call last week. “In response to higher fuel prices, they might go for a smaller engine. But usually, if you’re out there for a pickup truck, you’re not going to purchase a subcompact because gas is at a certain price level.” Gas prices will continue rising, he said, noting that at the same time, cars will become increasingly fuel efficient. Albertans and Newfoundlanders were among the strongest forces boosting national car sales in 2010, a year where light pickups represented the lion’s share of vehicles sold. “And that really comes down to regional differentiation across Canada,” Hatch said. “Canada is a huge country. It’s not really one economy. It’s a number of different economies.”

And provinces rich in resources, he said, tend to buy more trucks. Dealerships in Grande Prairie are reporting sales are up as much as 25% in the early part of 2011. “What we have seen at both of our dealerships is that overall sales are up 25% over last January, so I think that’s probably the most promising information that we have seen,” said Sean Sargent, owner of Sean Sargent Toyota. “December is always slower than November, so that’s not a bad thing. December was above last December as well ... I think we were up 10%.” Wes Kaban, president of the Grande Prairie Auto Group, a branch of the Edmonton-based Auto Canada Income Fund, said sales across their five brands -Hyundai, Nissan, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Subaru -in the city have outperformed those reported by Statistics Canada. “Our sales are up over last February considerably,” he said. Fuelled by an increase in truck sales, the industry rebounded considerably in 2010, reaching a 22-month high in September. The decline since then probably has to do with a drop in consumer

File Photo

Albertans are the among the strongest forces boosting national car sales in 2010 where pickup trucks were among the top sellers. demand, said Todd Hirsch, a senior weaker sales is that consumer economist with ATB Financial. demand for replacement vehicles “Typically, weak sales of a major has been temporarily tapped out. durable item like vehicles are due “With all of the new vehicles sold to sliding consumer confidence. leading up to the fall of 2010, there However, with Alberta’s economy are simply fewer Albertans remainimproving and oil prices higher, that ing in the market for new vehicles.” seems improbable,” Hirsch said. Last year, industry made reve“The most likely cause of the nues of $77 billion, as revenues rose

Advertising! 1. YOU MUST REACH NEW CUSTOMERS Your market changes constantly. New families in the area mean new customers to reach. People move up earn more money, which means a change of lifestyle & buying habits. The shopper who wouldn’t consider your business a few years ago, may now be a prime prospect. Remember Canadians are moving once every 2.5 years. More than 200,000 couples will marry this year. 400,000 babies will be born. People of working age will increase substantially as a percentage of population. 2. YOU MUST BUILD AND MAINTAIN LOYALTY Shoppers have mobility & freedom to shop where they please. Studies show that people think nothing

of travelling 50 kilometers to get what they want. With disposable income showing weaker growth, the Canadian consumer is more cautious, demanding “known” goods & services. You must advertise to get former customers to return & to gain new ones. 3. YOU MUST GENERATE STORE TRAFFIC The more people who come into your store, the more possibilities you have to make sales & sell additional merchandise. A retail survey shows that for every 100 items that shoppers plan to buy, they make 30 unanticipated purchases. 4. YOU MUST STAYWITHTHE SHOPPERTHROUGH THE BUYING PROCESS Many people postpone buying decisions. They often shop several stores, comparing prices, quality and service. Advertising must reach them consistently through the entire decision-making process. Your name must be fresh in their minds when they ultimately decide to buy. 5. YOU MUST KEEP AHEAD OF THE OTHERS IN YOUR LINE OF BUSINESS There are only so many consumers in the marketplace who are ready to buy at any one time. You’ve got to advertise to keep your regular customers & to

10% over the previous year. Sales were up 6.6% Hatch said 2011 will be another good year for car sales, albeit numbers will be dampened a bit by lingering concerns about the strength of the economic recovery. “People tend to focus on the negative side of the economy,” he said. Another reasons for boosting sales last year were incentives offered by car makers. They’ve come down from their peaks, but fierce competition will ensure they’ll continue, Hatch said. “As long as (manufacturers are) making money, I don’t see why the incentives would stop. They might reverse themselves a little bit, but incentives will always be part of the picture,” he said. Sargent said 2011 would look remarkably like 2010 for local dealerships. “I suspect that it’s going to have steady increases year-over- year all the way through again,” he said. “Maybe not to the level of 25%, but we’re kind of forecasting and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 10% to 15% increase over 2010. I think that’s a fairly realistic increase yearover- year.” – With files from Markus Ermisch

A business investment! 10 Reasons to advertise!

counterbalance the advertising of those who would like nothing better than to get them away from you. 6. YOU MUST BE AGGRESSIVE IN ATTRACTING NEW BUSINESS Your doors are open; your salespeople are on the payroll. Even the slowest days produce sales. As long as you’re in business, you’ve got overhead to meet, new people to reach. Advertising that is vigorous and positive can bring shoppers into the marketplace regardless of the economy. 7. YOU MUST RESPOND TO THE THREAT FROM ADVERTISERS IN OTHER BUSINESS CATEGORIES Different & seemingly disassociated enterprises are really strong competitors. Should the consumer take a vacation, buy a dining room suite or replace that old car? That puts the travel agent, furniture store and automobile dealer into head-on competition. You must attract customers from competitors in other business classifications as well as your own. 8. YOU MUST MAINTAIN SALES AND REVENUE MOMENTUM Advertising gives you a long-term advantage over competitors who cut back or cancel their advertising.

A survey of more than 3,000 companies found that advertisers who maintained or expanded their advertising over a five year span saw their sales increase an average of 100%. Companies that cut their advertising averaged sales increases of 45%. 9. YOU MUST BUILD EMPLOYEE MORALE Advertising gives your staff strong additional support. Picture the plight of the hapless salesperson who heard a prospect say: “I don’t know you; I don’t know the company you represent and I never heard of your product. Now what was it you were trying to sell me?” Advertising is much more than an act of faith. It is proof of pride and a promise of performance. 10. YOU MUST MAKE MORE SALES Advertising works. Businesses that succeed are usually strong, steady advertisers. Look around. You’ll find that the most aggressive and consistent advertisers are almost invariably the most successful.

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20 Grande Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, 8, 2011 20 Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, MarchMarch 8, 2011

More women in top senior positions: Report Sheena Goodyear QMI Agency

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A recent report by Catalyst, a Canadian organization that monitors women in business, shows there are more women taking senior roles in Canada’s 500 top-earning companies.

Women are filling the ranks of senior officers at more top-earning Canadian companies than ever before, but a huge chunk of companies don’t have any top women, and men still pocket the highest salaries, a new report has found. Last week, Catalyst, a Canadian organization that monitors women in business, released its annual census on female senior officers at Canada’s 500 top-earning companies, the Financial Post 500. The report focused on two lists: The 30.8% of companies with 25% or more female senior officers, and the 30.3% of companies with none whatsoever. “I encourage employees and leaders of organizations to look and see where your company sits,” Deborah Gillis, senior vice-president of membership and global operations with Catalyst, told QMI Agency. “I think that where you find your

company sitting will tell you something about whether the advancement of women into leadership is a priority or not.” Catalyst’s research shows companies with more senior women perform better and have better employee morale, added Gillis. “When employees believe that they have a fair opportunity to advance in their organization, they have stronger commitment and there’s more engagement,” Gillis said. “It’s clear that diversity and inclusiveness ... promotes creativity and innovation.” The percentage of FP500 companies with 25% or more female senior officers increased to 30.8% in 2010 from 25.9% in 2008, the report shows. T hose compa n ies i nclude Lululemon Athletica, A&W Food Ser v ices, W i n ners Mercha nts International, Hewlett-Packard Canada, the Bank of Nova Scotia, IMB Canada, Boeing Canada, PepsiCo Canada, Quebecor, Shoppers Drug Mart and Xerox Canada.

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Meanwhile, 30.03% of the FP500 companies had no female senior officers, whatsoever, in 2010, down from 32% in 2008. Among those companies with no top women are AbitibiBowater, Barrick Gold Corporation, Bombardier, Bruce Power, Dollarama, Enbridge, Husky Energy, Imperial Oil, Sun Life Financial and WestJet Airlines. Public companies trail private companies and Crown corporations when it comes to female representation, the report shows. Women f i l led 14% of sen ior officer positions at public companies in 2010. Co-operatives fared just a litt le better w it h 15.9%, whereas private companies had 20.3% and Crown corporations had 27%. Overall, women held 17.7% of senior officer positions at FP500 companies in 2010, up only fourfifths of percentage point from 2008. The report also found women are still at the losing end of the pay gap in corporate Canada. In 2010, women held just 6.2% of the topearning positions within FP500 companies, compared to 5.6% in 2008. “For many men and women and the organizations they work for, I think there’s an assumption that women have made it, that the barriers to women advancing have fallen away over the years. That, in many ways, is not accurate,” said Gillis. She said the report “tells us that while women have certainly made great strides in many areas, they certainly are underrepresented in leadership roles in Canada.” “That certainly may challenge some of the assumptions people might have,” she said.


Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune• Tuesday, • Tuesday,March March8,8,2011 2011 Grande Prairie DailyDaily Herald-Tribune

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Banks see impressive first-quarter results Cameron French Reuters

PROFITS BEAT EXPECTATIONS The banks’ core Canadian personal and commercial banking operations underpinned profit growth, and their U.S. divisions also showed unexpectedly strong

results, particularly at RBC. “I think for Royal perhaps the most encouraging thing was the turnaround in t he U.S. operations,” said Gavin Graham, president of Graham Investment Strategy. RBC Bank (USA), Royal’s U.S.

consumer bank, has been a drag on earnings since it entered the space about a decade ago. Bank of f icials last year said RBC’s international div ision – which had reported losses for ten straight quarters courtesy of the U.S. bank – would return to quarterly profit at some point this year. But RBC Chief Executive Gordon Nixon said it happened faster than expected. “We think that trend over the year is going to continue,” he told reporters after the bank’s annual meeting in Toronto. Provisions for bad loans, which have steadily declined since the financial crisis, shrank further during the quarter, padding the bottom line of both lenders. Adjusted profit at RBC, Canada’s biggest bank, was C$1.26 a share, easily topping the C$1.01 a share expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. On a net basis, RBC earned a record C$1.84 billion ($1.90 billion), or C$1.24 a share, up from C$1.50 billion, or C$1.00 a share, a year earlier. Canadian personal and commercial banking income at RBC

rose 14% to C$882 million, investment banking profit climbed 7 % to C$613 million, and international bank ing – which includes t he U.S. retail bank – turned a profit of C$24 million, compared with a loss of C$57 million last year.

TD HIKES DIVIDEND TD, Canada’s No. 2 bank, earned C$1.54 billion, or C$1.69 a share, up from C$1.30 billion, or C$1.44 a share. Excluding items, TD earned C$1.74 a share, well ahead of analysts’ expectations of a profit of C$1.55 a share. TD raised its quarterly dividend to 66 Canadian cents a share from 61 Canadian cents. “For one of the big five (banks) to do it is obviously a very important marker, because in essence now the clock is ticking on the other ones to raise it,” said Graham. Ba n k of Nova Scot ia, wh ich reports results next week, is seen as a longshot to raise its payout this quarter, while RBC and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce are expected to follow suit later this year.

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Roy a l Ba n k of Ca n ad a a nd Toronto-Dominion Bank bot h handily beat profit expectations last week, sending their shares sharply higher, as a strong economy supported loan growth and investment banking profit. The first-quarter results from Canada’s two biggest banks followed impressive results from other Canadian lenders over the past two weeks, and confounded predictions that consumer lending was drying up. “We’re seeing underlying earnings growth which is a lot stronger than what I believe the market had been anticipating,” said John Aiken, an analyst at Barclays Capital in Toronto. TD also raised its quarterly dividend by 8.2%, the first of the country’s big five banks to do so since the financial crisis. Canada’s banks weathered the crisis relatively well, due to conservative lending practices. Unlike many U.S. and European banks, no Canadian lenders required a government bailout.

Their results reflect a surge in economic growth in the fourth quarter of last year that, along with still-low interest rates, has spurred Canadians to keep borrowing. “We’re still seeing good (loan) growth, not at the double-digit level that we saw in 2010, but certainly still quite strong,” Colleen Johnston, TD’s chief f inancial officer, told Reuters. But she said the bank had begun to see a slowdown in mortgage lending during the quarter to Dec. 31, the first quarter of the banks’ fiscal year. R BC sha res ended t he session up 5.2% at C$59.92, while TD rose 3.9% to an all time high of C$83.60. Smaller Canadian Western Bank climbed 1.3% to C$30.89 after it reported a stronger-than-expected 10% rise in first-quarter profit late on Wednesday.

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22 Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, March 8, 2011 22 Grande GrandePrairie Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, March 8, 2011

AIIC having an impact helping Aborginals make financial decisions QMI Agency

Formed in 1987, the Alberta Indian Investment Corporation (A IIC) is owned by all First Nations in the province of Alberta. Throughout its history AIIC has provided First Nation-owned businesses an unparalleled source of loan and equity financing and has been instrumental in entrepreneurial development activities throughout the province, within the First Nation’s economic development sector. It is in the area of business finance that AIIC is a industry leader. Its innovative approach to providing financing for on and off reserve business have assisted many individuals in their efforts to become successful business people in the working world. AIIC provides interest-bearing loans to First Nation entrepreneurs for the purpose of starting, purchasing or expanding a business. In some cases, equity financing may also be available. Interest rates are competitive. Applicants for financial assistance must:

• Have a business plan which shows that their business will be profitable; • Contribute their own equity as a portion of the total financing of the business; • Have adequate collateral security; • Have acceptable credit rating. To be eligible for AIIC services, applicants must meet the following criteria: • Must be a Status Indian who has resided in Alberta for at least one year; • If a corporation or partnership, the Status Indian must own at least 51% of any shares, participate more that 51% in profits, and above all, must be active in managing the business; • The applicant’s head office must be in Alberta and the majority of business activities take place in Alberta. AIIC’s business services are primarily focused on counselling and mentoring clients at all stages of business development; whether it be at the pre-business planning stage, business start up phase, or the operational stage of business.


In all stages, an attempt is made to have the client participate in the cost of the business services. In addition AIIC business services is also involved in organizing business workshops throughout the province on topics such as business planning, growing the business, and basic accounting. Furthermore, AIIC is very interested in developing initiatives for First Nation youth that will create an awareness of entrepreneurship as an option in career planning.

AIIC Scholarships S e n a t o r Ja m e s G l a d s t o n e Memorial Scholarship to two First Nations persons whom are post secondary students enrolled fulltime in a college or university program of Business, Finance or Economics. Sam Bull Memorial Scholarship to a First Nations person whom are post secondary students enrolled full-time in a university program of Law & Political Science. Visit our website for more information.

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DHT File Photo

The oil and gas industry in Northern Alberta is looking up after a few slow years.

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Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune• •Tuesday, Tuesday,March March 8, 8, 2011 2011

Commodity price index begins on a strong note QMI Agency

Mounting tensions in the oil-rich Middle East and bad crop-growing weather are pushing up global commodity prices. That could be good news for Canadian exports, but bad news for consumers at the checkout counter. The Scotiabank Commodity Price Index, which measures price trends for 32 of Canada’s major exports, rose for the seventh straight month in January, by 2.7%. “Overall commodity prices will likely edge higher, though momentum has shifted latemonth from strength in base metals to oil and precious metals, given growing political unrest in Libya, Algeria and parts of the Middle East,” said Patricia Mohr, commodity market specialist and vice-president of economics at Scotiabank. The agricultural sub-index led the January gains, surging 5.5% on the strength of grains and oilseeds, livestock and fish. Spot canola prices have jumped 55% yearover-year on strong demand for vegetable oils, especially in China and India. Adverse weather conditions and the growing proportion of land being used to grow crops for biofuels are pushing up global food prices.

Scotiabank said grocery-store prices will likely rise on both sides of the border, as strains on commodities make their way through the supply chain. The oil-and-gas sub-sector posted a surprise decline in January after repairs on a Canadian crude pipeline left excess supply at Superior, Wis. The trend isn’t expected to continue. WTI and Brent oil prices hit $103 and $120, respectively, last week, fuelled by fears civil unrest in the Middle East could spread to other major oil-producing nations. “The world is much better prepared to handle an oil-supply crisis today than in mid2008, when WTI oil prices skyrocketed to a record $147.90 US alongside strong global demand and dwindling OPEC spare capacity,” Mohr said, adding the stability of Saudi Arabian supply is critical. In the metals and minerals industry, prices gained 3.9% in January, and producers can look forward to even stronger fertilizer and choking coal demand. The forest products sub-index posted a 2.5% rise in the month despite the weak U.S. housing market. Demand for magazine-grade paper and lumber from China are underpinning the sector, the bank said.


Commodity prices rising

The Scotiabank Commodity Price Index, which measures price trends for 32 of Canada’s major exports, rose in January by 2.7%, the seventh straight month it has jumped 260



U.S. recession periods

220 200 180 160 140 120

All items

100 80 60

All items (inflation adjusted)


20 ’72 ’74 ’76 ’78 ’80 ’82 ’84 ’86 ’88 ’90 ’92 ’94 ’96 ’98 ’00 ’02 ’04 ’06 ’08 ’10 Source: Scotiabank


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Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, March 8, 2011

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Business & Industrial Visions  
Business & Industrial Visions  

Business and Industrial Visions concentrates on the top industrial/biz sectors most active in the South Peace. Stories look back and more im...