Peter Dunfield, Senior Advisor, Safety Health and Environment at Syncrude in Fort McMurray, Alberta sent this photo of a thank you memento he was given after his presentation a few years ago to The Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA). Peter had asked for my permission to use one of my moose-on-the-table slides to raise the issue of alcohol and drug use in Alberta’s construction industry. He challenged his audience by stating, “We need people to step up and acknowledge that alcohol and drug use in construction is a moose on our table and not be OK with maintaining the status quo any longer.”

Peter talked like a true leader navigating change “above the line,” as he further challenged everyone at the conference to deal with this moose. “We don’t need to wait for the Government to clarify and tell us to do the right things. We can address the alcohol and drug issue right now if we choose to do it! There are a lot of people out there waiting. Waiting for legal precedent, waiting for legislation, waiting for others to move first. Why are we waiting? Let’s not ask for permission to do the right thing…let’s just do it!”

My good friend and fellow Kitchenerite (yes, he lives right here in the centre of the universe), Jeff Wilbee would heartily agree. Jeff was head of Addictions Ontario. He was awarded a “Courageous to Come Back Award earlier this year. You can read his inspiring personal story at

Jeff now provides workshops, presentations, and consulting to organizations willing to address the alcohol and drug moose. He and I have talked numerous times about the social and organizational stigma of addictions and how so many people to make the moose go away. But just as Pete Leonard (the central character in Moose on the Table) found out, ignoring a moose like this actually makes it grow bigger, bolder and even attract more moose (this is touched on in the chapter entitled, “The Call of the Riled”).

Whether at home, with friends, or in the workplace, we enable and feed a moose like addiction by pretending it’s not there or hoping that it will go away if we ignore it.

Hats off to courageous leaders like Peter and Jeff for causing others to squirm by their naming the moose! That’s an important first step in any moose hunting exercise.