The Dark Side of Fort McMurray

Fort McMurray dark sideAlthough Fort McMurray is the site of Canada’s most prominent oil industry, it has a reputation for something else: excessive living. Like any other boom town in history, it is full of debauchery. Oil workers with pockets stuffed full of money pour into town during their shift changes to get rowdy and purge their systems of revelries before their next set of work days. This has earned Fort McMurray the reputation of being a party town with a dark underside of crime and drug trade.

The matter of substance abuse in Fort McMurray is known to be significant. This is typical of any boom town. A boom town’s prosperity always exceeds its size and its accommodations. Fort McMurray is a small town in an unremarkable location. It does not offer any of the luxuries, recreation or entertainment of a big city. Yet its residents are the wealthiest in all of Canada. One can imagine why that has created a culture of substance abuse within Fort McMurray. The drug trade in Fort Mac is a huge operation, supplying the wealthy oil workers with exotic illegal substances to entertain themselves with. Drugs and alcohol are some of the primary means of entertainment for Fort McMurray residents. Oil worker are frequently required to check in to an Alberta alcohol detox or drug rehab.

The crime rate in Fort McMurray is also shockingly high. Much of it is tied to the drug trade, as there are a number of competing gangs in town. The Hell’s Angels are a presence there, as well as several other prominent gangs. There are people from all over the world living and working in Fort McMurray for the high wages, which leads to culture clashes and a foreign crime presence. Violent crime is ever on the rise in Fort McMurray, and the clashes with the RCMP that occur are volatile. Some people criticize Fort McMurray harshly, calling it a cesspool of debauchery, crime and immorality. Fort McMurray has a good side too, with prospering families and tight communities, but the crime and substance abuse problems are concerning.

Alberta Oil Culture

oil culture of AlbertaAlberta is the Canadian province generating most of the country’s revenue with one industry: oil. Alberta is home to the Athabasca oil sands, which is known to be the second biggest oil reserve in the entire world. The province of Alberta thrives on its oil industry, and generates more revenue into Canada than any other industry. The Canadian dollar, in fact, is affected more by the country’s oil industry than any other. This has made the Alberta oil industry into its own culture, politics and economy.

The recent controversy over Alberta’s wealth of oil is that the money generated by the oil industry largely stays within Alberta. The country’s socialist mentality hardly extends to the distribution of money that the oil industry of Alberta brings in. Critics of this policy wonder why a valuable natural resource such as oil does not generate revenue that circulates throughout Canada more than it does. Oil workers take their hard earned money outside of Alberta, of course, but there is no federal regulation on oil funds that distributes that revenue to other provinces.

Conservative supporters of this practice claim that the separation between provinces is beneficial in distinguishing different jurisdictions of economic regions and keeping the money close to its source. Liberal critics of this practice claim that the distribution of oil money through out Canada is far more in tune with its other socialist policies, such as health insurance. The controversy boils down to a debate over separatism verses socialism.

It is the opinion of this blogger that Alberta’s wealth of finances be circulated throughout Canada to boost the country’s economy and share one of Canada’s most valuable natural resource with its countrymen. A naturally occurring substance such as oil should belong to the economics of an entire country rather than being hoarded within one jurisdiction. Canada would benefit enormously from a reevaluation of where the financial prosperity of Alberta is distributed.

Living in the Mac

life in Fort McMurrayLiving in Fort McMurray, Alberta, which is affectionately known as “The Mac,” is unlike living anywhere else in Canada. Not only is it of a high latitude and unique forest setting, but it is also the site of one of the largest oil excavations in the world. Fort McMurray’s oil operation is the most lucrative industry in Canada, and a vast number of the city’s residents make a living by working for one of the oil corporations. People come to Fort McMurray from around the world to earn a substantial living, and the city has the reputation of every oil boom town that proceeded it, but on a twenty-first century scale.

Life in the Mac is unique. Upon arrival, the city does not seem like anything out of the ordinary, but when one spends some time in Fort McMurray, they begin to notice things. The stores are under staffed. The traffic is badly congested. The cost of living is astronomical. All of these things are related to the overwhelming trend of piling into Fort McMurray for oil work. The city’s population continuously expands in staggering numbers, yet the work force is largely made up of oil workers, leaving other jobs and professions short handed and hardly able to keep up with the workflow. The city’s infrastructure was also designed for a much smaller population. One of the biggest complaints about Fort McMurray is that the roads and highways are not expanding with the population. And another well known fact about Fort McMurray is that housing prices are astronomically high. This is because the wages are the highest of anywhere in Canada, for oil jobs and regular jobs.

Oil is seldom discovered in scenic places that are desirable to live in. Fort McMurray is consistent with this trend. It is not considered to be a particularly scenic area of Canada. And the winters are miserable, reaching temperatures as low as minus 60. There is not a great deal of recreation available to the Fort McMurray population. Yet, for many, it is considered home and a source of financial security.

The Psychology of Fort McMurray

Fort McMurray psychologyFort McMurray, Alberta has a unique collective mindset, psychology and culture among Canadian cities. Everywhere one goes in Fort McMurray, they can observe a mentality of masculinism, getting rich and living large. Fort McMurray is the classic oil boom town story set in modern times with a rapidly expanding population, and it is no surprise that the collective psychology of Fort McMurray is male dominated, capitalistic and full of excess.

Any oil boom town in history is notedly male dominated. Working men from near and far clamor into oil towns while they are on their way up, seeking to make a better than average working wage. Fort McMurray is no exception, boasting the highest wages and housing prices in Canada. The oil industry is overwhelmingly dominated by men because the work force is made up of tradesman, ranging from truck drivers to welders to scaffold builders.

Fort McMurray is also a city that is all about money. The oil industry of Alberta is the most lucrative industry in Canada, and the desire to work for an oil corporation is widespread. The wages in the oil industry of Canada are the best one can find, and as a result, all of Alberta stands out as the wealthiest Canadian province. Housing prices and costs of living in Fort McMurray are extremely high as a result, but people are happy to pay the prices. It is popular in Fort McMurray for oil workers to spend their off time blowing copious amounts of money on recreation.

Which leads to the last psychological attribute of Fort McMurray: excess. The culture of excess in Fort McMurray is known throughout Canada. It is a Fort McMurray tradition to earn a high wage, then spend it on large houses, nice cars and other impressive material possessions. It is also a well known Fort McMurray tradition to take in party substances in excess, such as alcohol, cocaine and marijuana.