Alberta oil industry smoking in work place


Contains approx. 4,000 chemicals, dangerous to the non-smoker who is near a smoker. Worse in the workplace where humans must work and stay all day long. A person who breathes secondhand smoke is breathing the same chemicals as someone smoking. During my over ten years in Alberta’s oil industry I was actively inhaling those chemicals.

While developing an unwanted craving for it, caused by second-hand smokers. I am a non-smoker. Sinus surgery, respiratory problems. Thank you, Mr. Oil company executive for your impressive social responsibility propaganda.

Alberta big oil – in support of smokers – against all principles of their proclaimed social responsibility.

Why ? because smokers are more productive ? or, at times of intense periods of oil companies’ takeovers and layoffs, its easier to kill employees with second-hand smoke, rather than being forced (for pretense) to pay them (Micky mouse) severance pay to get rid of them ? (Micky mouse meaning 3 months’ pay or a little over $10,000 – that was in the 1980s).

Here is the interesting part of this (my insider) story: Those who were heavy smokers on the job sites, in offices, remained in their jobs, when after another corporate takeover many positions were culled and long-time employees were laid off.

Examples of being exposed to second-hand smoke: In the systems and computer department we were mostly housed in one big area, each having their cubicle. On and off, I also had an office – as project leader. Some of the heaviest smokers, they put two in an office, pretending to somehow shut them inside away from others.

For many months, and years, I suffered, inhaling second-hand smoke. During that time I also had a sinus surgery – around 1983. Resulting to have to come to work with blood running from my sinus cavities into my throat daily.

Hudson’s Bay Oil & Gas Co. – first one I started working when coming to Calgary January 1977. As Senior Systems Analyst & project leader for computer projects. There was this one guy – always smoking. Carrying his smoking cigarette in his hand while walking in open spaces. I had just got myself a new office suit, he managed to burn a hole into it. No excuses or offer to repair.

Then in 1983 oil company takeover by TCPL (TransCanada Pipelines) Resources. By 1986 massive layoff campaigns had started. For this, Headquarters in Toronto sent down an ENFORCER. Who was charged with severe harassment of computer professionals and employees, daily changing assignment routines, moving people around, assigning me as senior project leader with company-wide studies on ‘How to eliminate certain positions’. Which entailed for me to interview former colleagues and friends. Needless to say, they were not happy with that ! And then present a report of recommendations to those now in charge with laying off the same people I was forced to interview. Filthy attempt of creating diversion and resentment.

At the same time I had to complete my major projects of converting all software to 4th gen DB systems architecture, lots of work still to do with all those programs.

As a result of all of this ? I lost my home in Alberta, and my family. My son left for the United States in 1990 to also do his graduate studies there, far away in Alabama. Stayed for thirteen years, then decided to move back to his homeland, the Netherlands.

While I staid behind alone, being unfortunately now a Canadian citizen. Just memories of corrupt companies.

[Previous posts on this s.a. [ ]

TransCanada – TCPL the 1980s – inside story

TransCanada. [ ] Parent company of  TransCanada Pipelines Limited (TCPL), a company operating during the 1980s among others with an oil related division = hence the name TCPL Resources. Calgary 1983. Following the take over of the former Maligne Resources oil company and all of their employees. Initially all, but soon transferring many managers to other outside companies and/or somewhat related companies. Big shuffle. At that time I was one of the employees, and had been part of the systems and computer department, as a senior systems analyst and developer. Also project leader for a number of big computer re-design projects, both hardware and software and complete re-writes. Lots of work. Difficult work, because one of the vices common inside those companies was “the permission to chain smoke” on the job and inside the open floors, thus forcing all innocent bystanders (non-smokers) to inhale those deadly fumes. At the same time expecting them to perform their heavy quota of workload.

Apart from that, it started out nice when TCPL Management came on board. But wait a minute: after couple of years the tables turned in a terrifying and tasteless way. Not only was everybody by that time sick of that cigarette smoking, but also TCPL sent down from their headquarters in Toronto, an “Enforcer”. Tasked with identifying, how many people were supposed to get laid off, kicked out or otherwise harassed on a daily basis, until they knew no better, than to leave anyways.

That’s not what you do with professionals, ‘Mr. Enforcer and Prosecutor’. That is not how you treat human beings, unless you don’t care to be openly perceived as a racist and human rights violator. By 1986 numbers of professionals had been kicked out into the street with a couple bucks remuneration. Our (computer) department, starting first with females and single mothers. But how it was done by the Enforcer was tastelessly unprofessional: Assembling large documents with hundreds of pages of all sorts of lies on some employee (who was supposed to read that ?), and sign some silly legalized (bullshit) document? Which nobody of course did. We just left, in the middle of the (oil industry) recession, trying to find some other job. In Alberta at that time almost impossible. I lost my home, my family got ripped apart and I had to go to Ontario. One thing I got, though, is a number of excellent reference letters from the highest level of Management, testifying to the specifics and the quality of all the projects I had done for this company.

End of story. And now they want to go with their big new Eastern pipeline. Trans Canada. Is this legal ? Of course, it is. As is their treatment of experienced and qualified professionals who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time  (meaning “being employed by the wrong kind of company”).

On May 15, 2003, TransCanada Corporation received regulatory approvals to establish it as the parent company of TransCanada PipeLines Limited. Shareholders voted in favour of the change to the corporate structure of the company at the Annual and Special Meeting on April 25.

For background on this issue, please see the letter to shareholders and Q&As from Board of Directors’ chairman, Dick Haskayne and chief executive officer, Hal Kvisle, as well as information included in the Management Proxy Circular.