Heard it through the pipeline: Pro-pipeline rallies taking place across the province
By Nathan Woolridge, News Editor
On Dec. 17, 2018 the plaza outside of Calgary’s Municipal Building was flooded with an estimated 3,000 people — these people came together for a pro-pipeline rally organized by Canada Action.
In a statement, Canada Action says that they have “organized multiple events in the past, and is excited to promote this positive, non-partisan, supportive showing by the City of Calgary and their backing of the energy sector.”
The event at City Hall was also attended by the mayor and some members of city council.
Canada Action said in a statement that city council was on location to support pipelines and the energy sector. Canada Action said it’s important that the city’s support receives attention.
“Canada’s a leader in protecting people and the planet. Global oil and gas demand is growing and it’s never been more important to speak up in support of the men and women that work in our resource sector from coast to coast. Today Calgary city council is sending a strong message and we hope other municipalities across the country will do the same in support of their constituents,” said Cody Battershill, Canada Action’s founder and spokesperson.
The Calgary event heard from Battershill, Councillor Peter Demong and Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
Demong started his speech talking about city council’s support, but was quickly dismissed when he began talking about Quebec’s city council and their support for the pipeline construction. And when he mentioned that Calgarians should be buying Canadian cheese to support other industries, he was practically ‘booed’ off of the stage.
Nenshi quickly swooped up to the microphone to try and recover for his colleague. He started off well talking about the importance of the oil, gas and energy sector in Alberta — even acknowledging the low occupancy rate of downtown Calgary offices.
But, Nenshi also found himself at the center of ‘boos’ and loud remarks when he began to discuss climate change.
“Good luck changing hearts and minds,” Nenshi shot back to some individuals in the crowd that were vocal during his speech.
At one point, Battershill had to step in and ask the crowd to stop shouting when Nenshi began to speak in French — a message he was aiming towards the people of Quebec.
When the crowd settled, Nenshi said, “You have to speak their language” when trying to get your message across.
The mayor ended his speech with “Let’s get that pipeline built.”
Similar rallies have been held across the province — all with a similar message to get the pipeline built.
One of the first rallies was held in northern Alberta in Grande Prairie around mid-December. There was an estimated 1500-2000 people in attendance to support pro-pipeline efforts. Oilfield Dads and Rally4Resources helped organize the rally.
In an email statement, Rally4Resources said, “More than 500,000 Canadians earn a living working in the oil and gas industry. The devastating price drop of Western Canadian Select Oil is not only crippling our economy, but our families, our jobs, our province and our nation.”
Prior to the rally, Rally4Resources also said “We anticipate this to be the largest pro-oil and gas rally in Canadian history, and it will also include a 250 vehicle convoy; showing our unwavering support for the oil and gas industry and new pipeline development.”
Hitting the streets
The Grande Prairie convoy surpassed the 250 vehicle goal with an estimated 600 vehicles joining in. These convoys have also happened in large scales across the province.
There are also plans for an even larger-scale convoy to go from Western Canada to Ottawa in support of the oil, gas and energy sector.
Canada Action’s website says, “A coalition of grassroots pro-resource groups is organizing a convoy from Western Canada to Ottawa and hosting a rally on Parliament Hill.
“This project is a massive undertaking that no one group can fund on their own. We would like to be able to fully fund any participants who want to join but can’t, due to finances. Taking this amount of time off for anyone in the oil and gas sector is a huge sacrifice but there has never been a more important time to be heard,” says representatives from Canada Action.