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Thursday, December 6

Canadian Boom Town $$$

I was flipping through yesterday's paper and had to find this story online. So here it is:
This Is the Life: Luxurious Digs On Frigid Oil Sands
Firms in Canada Pay Well, And Steak Is on the Menu; 'Smell of Money' Beckons
By DOUGLAS BELKIN
December 5, 2007; Page A1

WOOD BUFFALO, Alberta -- Mike Savoie's new room comes with a 20-inch flat-screen TV, double bed, high-speed Internet access and daily maid service. Prime rib is on the Thursday dinner menu. The bar opens at 6 p.m., and if that doesn't relax him, there's a yoga class at 7.

The cost to the 38-year-old heavy-equipment operator of what he calls his "five star" accommodations? None.

Up here, in the white-hot center of the Canadian economy, riches are being pulled out of the yawning black pits of the Alberta oil sands like cash from an ATM. The Canadian dollar, propelled by oil hovering around $90 a barrel, has surged more than 60% to virtual parity with the U.S. dollar in the past five years. Now, the biggest hurdle oil companies have is finding enough skilled workers to operate the shovels.

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