Red Deer's Queens Businesses Park was the launching point of a convoy Saturday aimed at raising awareness about the need for increased pipeline capacity in Canada.
The convoy saw somewhere north of 600 participants begin meeting at 10:30 a.m. before hitting the road at noon.
The route they took was north on 75 Avenue, then east onto Highway 11A and south on Highway 2. From there the convoy travelled west along Highway 11 to Sylvan Lake where it continued north on Highway 20, then east on 11A again to the QE2 where it ended
Organizer Dani Howells of Rimbey says without Canada’s oil and gas getting to markets outside the U.S., those in the industry simply can’t work.
“The most important thing is that it’s not the people that are stopping it but as much as the political aspects of it that are stopping it,” explains Howells. “I think this is a good way and a peaceful way for people who are affected with it to kind of have their voice heard.”
Howells says the current lack of pipeline capacity is having a horrible effect on many Alberta families.
“To put it bluntly, if we didn’t have the business that we did right now, we would be in the same issue as everyone else where we’re questioning where our mortgage payment is coming from and how we’re going to feed everyone,” she exclaims. “My dad hasn’t worked in two months and he’s the sole provider, so it’s pretty scary how things are going. My biggest worry as well is the suicide rates and stuff too, the mental health of people that are under stress of it.”
With several other Alberta communities seeing similar rallies of late, Howells felt Red Deer was also a good location to host one.
“We need to represent for central Alberta,” states Howells. “This is a main hub for oilfield too and they need to have their voices heard.”
She adds Saturday’s convoy is not to be confused with the Yellow Vest movement or Rally 4 Resources convoys planned next month in Red Deer.
“My personal view on the Yellow Vests is they have a different political agenda, and Rally 4 Resources, they’re doing an Ottawa convoy,” says Howells. “I just feel that this is strictly oil and gas because this affects us more in ways of day to day living. I feel what they’re doing is cool and awesome but there’s one main aim for everyone involved in Saturday's event and that is oil and gas.”
In addition, Howells says the federal government's Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 need to be scrapped, describing C-48 as restricting Albert’s access to getting our oil to the coast where tankers can ship it to foreign markets.
“Then C-69 is pretty much putting a five-year hold on any oil and gas project going through,” she explains. “If this bill comes into effect, you’re going to have to wait five years for anything to get built. It’s just a way for the government to keep control of the oil companies because they are money hungry and their political agenda is not good for anyone in Alberta or anyone in Canada.”
Howells hopes to see 500-700 people take part in Saturday’s convoy, one in which RCMP will be attending to ensure public safety.
“The main message is honestly just ‘Build a Pipeline’,” states Howells. “You’ve got Trudeau who owns a $4.5 billion pipeline and he’s sitting on it. He has the opportunity to go against the courts and say ‘No, we need this pipeline, put it in the ground’ and he’s not doing that.”
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