Craig Lothian is not quiet on social media when it comes to oil and gas.
With a Twitter handle of @ECraigLothian, the managing partner with Lex Capital Management has gotten into more than a few Twitter wars over the years.
Asked about the recent rallies and convoys in oilpatch communities, he said, “I think it’s great. We’re finally waking up. We, as an industry, and CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers), as our biggest representative of the industry, we’ve done a horrible job representing ourselves. We’ve given up the narrative to the ecoterrorists and the climate alarmists and we try to ignore it. I think, as an industry, we thought if they’re saying we’re dirty, and if I say anything, they’re going to target me, so we’ve been afraid to speak up.
“Anybody who follows me on Twitter knows that I’m prepared to speak up and challenge some of the doctrine that’s out there right now. But it’s a very risky endeavour. If you want to be pro oil on social media, you better be thick-skinned as well.
“You say two things in favour of the Canadian energy industry, you’re going to get 50 to 100 nutjobs coming out and telling you how you’re ruining the planet and killing baby whales.
“It’s nice to see the industry has kind of awakened finally.”
Lothian, along with Lex Capital CEO Dean Popil, have been trying to get a meeting with Ralph Goodale, Saskatchewan’s only Liberal member of parliament (and cabinet minister) to explain how important it is that the energy sector be well capitalized, and that the industry cannot grow without that capital. He said, “The biggest impediment to that capital is government policy. It’s policy and the narrative around that, how they’re delivering it. We wanted to be able to tell him that, in the hope he’d be able to exert some influence over the government as a cabinet minister.”
Lothian wasn’t successful at getting a meeting, but he has spoken to Goodale at a social event. Then, Lothian recalled, he warned Goodale of ignoring populist movements like the Yellow Vests in France, whom Lothian said of the French, “aren’t exactly warmongers.”
“You need to be a little bit wary of ignoring the populist movement that could develop around this. It’s going to start with the industry, with convoys, with people speaking out against what they’ve done to the Canadian energy industry; the people out of work unemployed and under employed.
“It’s going to grow from there when people start to realize that the oil industry is more than 10 per cent of the GDP of the country. And if you start removing that, from the Canadian economy, it’s going to have an impact on everyone. It’s going to hurt people everywhere.”
“It could be a very significant movement going forward, and I hope it steamrolls towards the 2019 federal election,” Lothian said.