Stampede!: The Rise of the West and Canada’s New Power Elite Book uri icon

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abstract

  • Itâs 2016 and the Calgary-Dominion Bank is holding its first annual meeting since the move from Torontoâand since the renaming of this historic Central Canadian institution. It happens to coincide with the demolition of the Toronto Dominion Centreâs major tower in downtown Toronto: a victim of low occupancy and a shift of corporate momentum to the West. The wealthy Edmonton Oilers are celebrating their fifth straight Stanley Cup win, driven by a Canadian dollar that is now shooting through the $1.30 U.S. barrier. The Alberta Heritage Fund is offering an interest-free loan to Ontario to undertake emergency repair work on the crumbling Highway 401. Pearson Airport has closed Terminal Three. The University of Alberta has attracted its third international Nobel Prize scientist in a year, using the blank cheque for medical and science spending provided by the province. Stephen Harper, prime minister for ten years, is preparing for a Conservative leadership convention to crown his chosen protégée, Foreign Affairs Minister Rona Ambrose. Is this the future of a Canada where Alberta is the corporate kingpin, Ontario is on the ropes, and Quebec is almost irrelevant? At one time, all these scenarios would have been considered ludicrous, but they are now within the realm of possibilityâindeed likelihoodâas corporate clout, political influence and population shifts dramatically from East to West. This westward push of power has been the story of Canada over the past one hundred years, as first Halifax then Montreal and now Toronto assumed dominance. Soon, however, Calgary and Edmonton will take command of the financial and corporate hegemony. Stampede speculates on how all this might happen; the people who could make it happen; and how those people became players in this stampede of power to Alberta. Above all, Stampede is about business leadership and how it is changing right across the country. It zeroes in on the corporate leaders in Alberta who will set the business and social agenda in Canada for decades to come. For Canadians outside Alberta, this is an introduction to their new bosses. But the book will also look at more familiar names and other national beneficiaries and victims of this shift. It documents winners and losers from across the country; from the wannabe Albertans in Newfoundland (who have both moved West or tried to emulate the Westâs resource titans), to the entrenched family fortunes of Quebec Inc., and the manufacturers and bankers of Central Canada, who are facing unprecedented challenges to their wealth and authority. The West has been in this position before; seemingly poised on the edge of greatness in the 1970s, only to see it snatched away because of plunging oil prices and a grasping federal government controlled by Eastern Canadian interests. The West is keenly sensitive to this possibility. It is practically a canon of faith for Albertans to quote that famous bumper sticker, âPlease Lord, grant me another oil boom so that I wonât piss it away again.â They got their wish. And as Gordon Pitt chronicles in this page-turning biography of Albertaâs new power elite, this time they may not piss it away so easily.

publication date

  • 2008