My general research interest centres upon western settlement, land policy and resource development. I am currently working on the origin and evolution of water "rights" in the prairie west with particular reference to the impact of water policy upon First Nation peoples.
"'King of the Wildcatters': The Life and Times of Tom Slick, 1883-1930" by Ray Miles is reviewed.
"The Golden Age of the Canadian Cowboy: An Illustrated History," by Hugh A. Dempsey, is reviewed.
This debacle, arguably the only really serious environmental failure since Alberta became a province in 1905, triggered a furious debate through the Dirty Thirties. Smaller producers, desperate to pump, raged against proposals to cut back the flow of liquids to conserve gas. Big companies also argued vehemently in favour of private property rights, although they were often accused of colluding with cutback proponents with an eye to buying out bankrupt rivals. Politicians, particularly Calgary municipal spokesmen, railed against squandering gas the city might need in future, but never once did an alderman propose paying producers an extra cent for securing that long - term gas supply. The federal government preached piously against the waste until 1939, when it began forcing up Turner Valley oil production to fuel the war effort. Today that 1.4 trillion cubic feet of waste amounts to about one - third of yearly production. In a sense, it was an investment. Of many lessons learned...
Erring on a different side of competent and interesting is David H. Breen's Alberta's Petroleum Industry and the Conservation Board (800 pages, $39.95 cloth), from, you guessed it, the University of Alberta Press. Competent this book is, exhaustively and exhaustingly.
Depicts the life of the Canadian cowboy and the economic conflicts between ranching and homesteading. Also questions use of Canadian prairie lands and the government decisions which determined the destiny of the west.