Editorial – A few words make a difference

Jeff Burgar

High Level [please note, High Level, not High Prairie] is closed for business!

Or at least, that was a recent conversation with a High Level person hoping to open a business in that northern Alberta community.

In fact, this same person was convinced that La Crete was far more interested in attracting business than anybody in High Level. He said La Crete, 135 km south and east, just down the road from High Level, had in fact twice the population and was booming. He said there were issues there, too, with business, but overall, he thought the atmosphere was much more welcoming.

And why was that?

“Well,” says the person, “I asked a High Level town councillor how to go about opening my business idea and he said, ‘Make sure you got enough votes.’”


“You got to go out and make sure you got enough votes that people want your business,” says the person.

This seems a strange attitude from a town councillor. Usually such critters [and critterettes] in any town or county fall over themselves wanting to help. Some are snoopy as all get out, but almost always, they are willing to go far out of their way to attract new business and people to their community. So what gives with this High Level official?

Further conversation brought forth the comments about La Crete, which at least population wise, don’t seem correct. High Level’s population in 2016 was 3,159. But the La Crete number is 2,408 from 2011. We don’t think much has changed there, so the fellow might be wrong.

And when asked if he had been down to the High Level town office to talk about permits, he admitted he hadn’t.

Basically, our budding entrepreneur doesn’t know much about numbers, nor local laws, nor we suspect, does he really understand what an elected official is trying to tell him.

This is not the first time, nor will it likely be the last time, a member of the public doesn’t understand much about opening and running a business. It isn’t a High Level problem. It’s a problem everywhere. Too many people, despite all the resources out there, can’t seem to put it all together to open or invest in their wonderful idea.

There are probably good reasons for this. But consider: Schools don’t teach business any more than they teach running for office. There are far fewer resources telling people how to be in politics, than how to be in business. Banks will help entrepreneurs, if you find the right banker and can listen. There are no offices around helping wannabe politicians.

But, we have no end of politicians, both good and bad, and a shortage of business people, both good and bad.

Are we all just ‘closed for business’ and don’t even know it.


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