I hope it stays dark forever, I hope the worst isn't over
Calgary has a new city council! And a new mayor! And some new trustees? And flouride in the water? Edmonton has some of those things? Oh wow okay I guess everything is fixed now. Phew.
I was talking to a guy the other day about how Chyna was making it hard to buy things. “Even propane will be hard to buy. Even propane! You never hear about [propane]”, he said. I nodded sagely about the propane shortage. “It’s all Biden. Fuckin’ Biden”, he said. I nodded and said yeah, fuck Joe Biden. He departed saying he was off to fill his work van with gasoline, grimacing at the prices and cursing. I waved goodbye, but instead of goodbye I said Joe Biden.
I’ve probably talked more about the price of gasoline in my life than most subjects. Like the weather or local sports it’s a subject that’s universal for small talk, or large talk if you’re quietly smoldering about decades old slights too spicy for the dinner table and want to pointedly avoid the subject. Yes it’s been uncommonly rainy this fall hasn’t it Midge, you spiteful harpy. Yeah you thought I fucking forgot. Yes it’s supposed to be quite warm next week, you shit. Yes, it was almost $60 dollars to fill up my Miata yesterday, I almost put my fist through the pump.
I think if you wanted to really fuck people up you could, as a shiny new mayor with a maybe sort of ideologically amenable new council, start a retail gasoline company. I’m pretty serious about this. Strike a new corporation or buy somebody out, build some pumps around town. I don’t think the masses would know what to do with themselves.
Stay with me on this: gasoline is much cheaper than the gas prices partly because of taxes but mostly because of profits. Your heart knows this but blames the government, at all levels, with all representatives, current policy be damned. If it isn’t their fault it’s the U.S. president, the Saudis, the Russians, or sometimes “the war”, which is weirdly the same war that will drive up oil prices and is good for Alberta. We’re a strange people that root for strange things.
But gas is cheap at wholesale, the spot price at writing being about 70 Canadian cents per litre. Federal taxes on gasoline are about 19 cents per litre plus GST at 5%. Alberta itself adds 13 cents per litre (very socialist). Add everything together in a way that is probably wrong and that I will probably be mocked for in the Discord immediately upon publishing this newsletter and you have gas for about a dollar per litre from our new city-owned gas stations. Calgas, or Gasgary, take your pick.
I remember when gas first played grab-ass with a dollar. I don’t think I’d ever seen the adults in my life so distressed. I thought my world was coming to an end because a year of 90 cent gas hadn’t prepared us for A DOLLAR PER LITRE. Lord and lady above. A dollar. But a dollar today looks small and stupid. It leaves you with a lot of wiggle room, a dollar per litre. I think I filled up last at a $1.80 per litre. I’m drinking a shot of mezcal every time I type “per litre” and I am now ineligible to care for my children.
Maybe Jyoti Gasgary Inc. adds on ten cents per litre for operating expenses, so what, they would still have line-ups around the block and less profit would go to the shareholders of Exxon or whatever. Maybe people with hybrid cars get gas at cost? Maybe a cent per litre goes to snow removal? The world really is your burrito on this one. Maybe some whiny gas station people argue about the government tipping the scales and making it impossible for them to make a buck but honestly fuck them. They’ve been complicit in a barely concealed conspiracy. Fuck them and the 100 years of long weekends they’ve bilked.
A gas station chain has downsides, like the contribution to climate change that will slowly kill us all, but the upsides are pretty attractive! Maybe cheap gas will save enough money to buy a new train! The material impact of cheap gas to working people is obvious, but being able to cap profits to a percentage of cost and add a couple little riders here and there to fund timely projects is pretty neat. You can even slap on some oilface and do the little jig that says “I support oil and gas in Alberta”. Every politician has to do the dance, might as well make it work for us. Cutting out the middleman for government fleets can save money on that side of the ledger, and maybe the little minimarts attached to Gasgary stations stock free naloxone and act as heated pickup stations for the DOAP Team. Maybe we install a little 311 kiosk where you can gripe about your neighbour Gary never shovelling the god damned sidewalk then it just gets all icy but he doesn’t care he just leaves out the back of his house every morning and he probably cooks meth.
But most of all a Calgary-owned gas station (or grocery store, or something else vital) can serve as a shiny new foothold for a key conversation: the privatization of public corporations was a con, public ownership can benefit you directly, and anybody arguing that 60 cents per litre going to a big oil and gas company in the United States is a great idea is a moron. Maybe that idea bleeds into others, like healthcare. What is the equivalent of $1.90 per litre gas when we privatize a hospital? Can we do a Gasgary for healthcare? Oh word, we already do? Well don’t that beat all.
🏧Fake report released, finds nothing but good jobs for report writers.
🧸People are still keeping the economy pumping and dying of COVID but benefits at all levels of government are expiring for no reason.
🚨Literally track all the women in the country instead of preventing men from doing sexual assault.
🎻Chevron goes green to power…oil extraction.
🥁New Zealand city commits act of ageism in dismissal of non-union employee.
🗻Rapidly realizing my dream of celebrating the deaths of Iraq War vampires. They’re going so fast! Luckily there’s dozens of them.
🪒Fear the deer (union).
🧷Company started by weird grain poop butt sex weirdo tries to attract scabs.
💠Georgia, a state famous for finding literally any black man nearby to convict of murder, uninvents the idea of tenure.
🔔The child labour is coming from inside the mutual fund.
🀄️Police ask COVID-19 to disperse, disease does not comply.
🏹Portugal seems pretty cool, in stark contrast with Brazil.
🎯A giant badass won an award.
📉Foodora and unions go together like spaghetti and milk - deliciously. Paris tells how it’s going.
🎧Left Turn talks about Strike Wave, the two sweetest words in English.
🔇Gender Troubles talks Ecofeminism, a word tailor-made to kill Keenan Bexte dead upon hearing it.
🎚️Don’t move to Southern Alberta, says local podcast.
🎬Sean Chu has to go and this protest on October 24 in Calgary aims to make it so.
🎳Students are finally, FINALLY organizing around insane cuts to public education in Alberta. Find out more here.