Weyburn, Regina – The day after the Regina Rally Against the Carbon Tax, Dennis Mainil was very disappointed with the level of national coverage of the event.
Mainil is president of Jerry Mainil Ltd., a Weyburn-based oilfield earthmoving company that was instrumental in the planning of the event. The organizational meetings were held at their offices, and many of the company’s senior staff were key organizers.
Asked why the were so heavily involved, “It’s something the owners and Jerry Mainil Ltd feel, for the betterment of Saskatchewan and all the people in Western Canada and Canada deserve a better deal than what we’re getting. Putting a carbon tax on is not going to solve any problems. You’ve got to create incentives to promote business and energy efficient procedures. The technology that we have in this province has proven to be a leader. We’ve got to continue going that way, and taxing it is prohibitive, going forward.”
“I was very disappointed in with the national coverage,” Mainil said. “It’s very sad, when the only way Saskatchewan can get publicity is when 16 young people are killed in a bus crash a year ago. That goes across the board like wildfire, but we have the biggest convoy in the world, and it doesn’t even hit the radar screen. That ticked me right off.”
“We didn’t get any national coverage. That was pretty sad, I thought. I got home, and my wife was so excited to see this on TV, and there was nothing. It was really bad.”
That wasn’t for lack of media present, however. The press scrum at the end of the rally had the premier surrounded by a semi-circle of tightly packed cameras and microphones, with journalists and camera operators behind them, but it didn’t get much beyond Saskatchewan’s borders. The National Post app had stories like “U.S. federal government in search of experts who can roll and joint,” and “Accountant buys $6 million in Apple iPhones and iPads on company credit cards and nobody notices for five years,” on its main page, but nothing on the convoy and rally.
“You can tell how important we are in Western Canada. Not only do the politicians ignore us, but so does the national media, and it’s pretty disgraceful to be treated like that. Really, we don’t even exist. It’s very frustrating.”
Mainil took his airplane up over Weyburn. While he was flying, Kevin Cooke was shooting photos and video. The lineups in Weyburn, waiting to join the convoy, were nothing short of incredible as seen from the air.
Beyond the convoy, his company how had to figure out now to live with the carbon tax in Saskatchewan, implemented a few days earlier. While Jerry Mainil Ltd. has not yet determined what the impact of the carbon tax will be, they have determined that oil companies don’t want to see it tacked on.
“They aren’t going to pay any more than they are paying on March 31. They won’t pay any more on April 1.”
“The oil companies, flatly, it doesn’t matter what our costs are, they don’t want to pay any more. I don’t want to pay any more to SaskPower. Do I have a choice? Yeah, but then they shut my power off. And if I say to my oilfield customers you’ve got to pay it, they’ll just hire somebody else,” he said.
So at this time, they are likely going to have to eat it.
“Have we got plans? yeah, I’ve got a lot of things going in my head,” he said, noting they’ve talked to other companies about their strategies.
Beyond the dirt moving company, Mainil, like much of his family, also farms. And the farm will also be affected greatly. “When I try to sell my canola, it’s not like I can collect more on my canola because I’ve got to pay carbon tax. Viterra, Richardson, nobody’s going to pay me more for my canola because there’s a carbon tax. There again, the farmer is going to eat it, too.
“Our costs are going up in many ways. Every bag of seed that comes in, maybe, as a farmer, there’s exemptions we’re up for, but all the product delivered to us, he’s not exempt,” Mainil said.
“I don’t mind investing if there’s value. But there’s no value. It’s just a tax.”
That tax will also double in two years. “It’s scary now, it’ll be really scary, going forward. It’s going to kill our economy. It’s going to ruin our economy, and it’s going to take the entrepreneurial ship out of it. Our country is already being killed by bureaucracy. No one wants to invest in Canada. If I’m a billionaire sitting in China, and I can invest in the United States, which has got a really hot economy now, or Canada, where they don’t want pipelines, that’s an easy no-brainer. I’m going to take my billion dollars and invest it where I can make money,” Mainil said.