Column: Jack knows a lot, but he was wrong this time

One of the most interesting people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting is a guy in Whistler, B.C., named Jack.

We knew each other casually when we were in university, but I didn’t really get to know him until he joined a fantasy hockey pool I was in back in 2006. I can safely say that I’ve won a lot more of his money than he has of mine.

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In fact, I don’t know if Jack has ever made money in one season in our fantasy hockey pool.

In addition to be a fantasy hockey philanthropist, Jack has had a number of other pursuits to occupy his time. He’s been a successful entrepreneur who has owned a few businesses in Whistler over the years. He and his wife have raised four children.

And if he didn’t have enough on his plate as it is, in 2011, he successfully ran for city council in Whistler. Last year, he decided he wanted to run for mayor of Whistler, one of the top resort communities in North America.

I wasn’t surprised when nobody opposed him, and Jack was acclaimed as mayor.

Those in the energy sector know I’m talking about Jack Crompton. And recently he drew the ire of the energy sector for a baffling decision. 

He thought it would be a good idea to send a request to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., and ask them to compensate Whistler for the costs associated with climate change. It ticked off a lot of energy companies, who pulled out of an investor conference in Whistler next month organized by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).

CIBC has since scrapped that portion of the conference, costing the community of Whistler money from the economic spinoff associated with the energy companies attending the conference.

Crompton has said he now regrets sending the letter and for making people feel unwelcome, but with any apology in these situations, you have to wonder if he regrets his actions, or if he’s apologizing because he got caught.

The Canadian oil and gas sector is understandably pretty ticked off about Crompton’s comments. There have been calls for those in the oil and gas sector, and those connected with the industry, to boycott Whistler.

The resort community might take a hit initially, especially when you factor in the number of businesses that have pulled out of the CIBC conference. And there might be a few who will stay away for a while.

But in a couple of years, there won’t be many who will remember Crompton’s missive. The oil industry will have moved on to other issues. And they will have found other politicians in B.C. to go after for making foolish comments about the energy sector.

Besides, how many people are going to turn down an invite for a skiing, hiking or golfing weekend in one of the most spectacular resort communities in the world because the mayor has a beef of the energy sector?

Jack was wrong to do what he did, and not only that, his stance is wrong, too. He shouldn’t be talking about billing that company and other oilfield companies for the cost of climate change. He should be thanking them for producing the oil that allows people to reach his community.

How many people visit Whistler each year? Most of them reach Whistler in cars, or buses, or private planes that run on fossil fuels.

You don’t see many electric vehicles coasting through the hills of B.C.’s coastal mountains to get to Whistler. You don’t see many people riding horses or walking into the community, either.

They’re getting there because of fossil fuels. Take fossil fuels out of the equation, and Whistler isn’t a bustling resort community any longer. 

He’s not the only mayor in B.C. to call for compensation from the effects of climate change.

He’s also not the only person in Whistler to be outspoken about the energy sector.

We have to remember that Jack Crompton is the mayor of Whistler, not Estevan or Fort McMurray or Calgary. He’s the mayor of a community that has a lot of the people we call “earth muffins.”

There are a lot of people who are going to applaud Crompton for standing up for what he believes in. Some of those people might say they don’t want people from the energy sector in their community in the first place.

After all, if the oil and gas people boycott Whistler, there are still lots of people looking to spend a few days on Whistler’s ski slopes in the winter, or golf courses in the summer. The scenery, the restaurants, the hotels and the shops can’t be beat.

They’ll still vote for him in the next election.

I still think highly of Mayor Crompton. He’s done a lot for his community over the years. He’ll do a great job as the mayor of Whistler.

He just needs to talk to Pipeline News editor Brian Zinchuk for a crash course on the energy sector.



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