A convoy of Canadians fed up with the federal government’s stance on pipelines and the carbon tax rolled into Ottawa on Feb. 19 for two days of protests.
Scores of vehicles—from 18-wheelers to pickups—occupied several blocks in front of Parliament starting on the morning of Feb. 19. They blasted their horns in protest as about 150 people gathered in knee-deep snow on the Hill for speeches by organizers and a handful of Conservative MPs and senators.
“I am sick and tired of people chaining themselves to trees and laying in front of bulldozers trying to block Canadian energy from reaching markets, but yet day after day we see tanker after tanker of foreign oil coming into our markets,” Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer told the crowd in a short speech.
“It’s time for that to stop.”
Some Conservative MPs who spoke criticized the Liberals’ carbon tax plan and, like Scheer, stated their support for the oil and gas sector.
Canadian energy workers deserve a government that supports their industry and champions it worldwide. Canada’s Conservatives will fix Justin Trudeau’s mess and get people back to work. Speaking live at #UnitedWeRoll in Ottawa:–Les travailleurs de l’énergie méritent un gouvernement qui appuie leur industrie et la défend partout. Les conservateurs du Canada vont réparer les dégâts de Justin Trudeau et redonner des emplois aux gens. En direct à #UnitedWeRoll à Ottawa :
由 Andrew Scheer 发布于 2019年2月19日周二
‘United We Roll’
Initiated by Glen Carritt, the owner of an oilfield fire and safety company in Innisfail, Alberta, the convoy called for the building of new pipelines and opposed the federal government’s carbon tax legislation, which imposes a tax on emissions.
“The core message is we need immediate action for our pipelines to get in the ground, to get to tidewater and to the rest of Canada,” Carritt told The Canadian Press in a previous interview.
The convoy left Red Deer, Alberta, on Feb. 14 and made its way east to demand support from Ottawa for the oil and gas sector. The convoy made stops along the way for pro-pipeline rallies.
After four days of driving across the country, the convoy mustered in Arnprior, Ont., just outside the capital. With a police escort, the trucks, buses, and cars arrived in downtown Ottawa on the morning of Feb. 19 after rush hour, barely disrupting the city’s morning commute. They returned to Parliament Hill the next day for another round of of protests before heading home on the afternoon of Feb. 20.
One placard on a truck said “No UN/globalism, carbon tax, tanker ban, dirty foreign oil, open borders.” Other signs backed a variety of causes, including supporting agriculture and protecting free speech.
The latest downturn in Alberta’s oilpatch has left many without jobs, and the federal government’s lack of action on pipelines isn’t doing anything to help, organizer Jason Corbeil told the Ottawa Citizen.
Mark Friesen, a convoy organizer from Saskatoon, gave one of the first speeches on Feb. 19 where he said some federal policies are the result of agreements with the United Nations to implement its sustainable development agenda.
“You cut the head of the snake off, we get our country back, all of it, including pipelines built, including dumping the carbon tax, including getting rid of the migrant pact,” he said.
Friesen, like many of the convoy participants, is affiliated with the yellow-vest movement. Carritt said the convoy was not itself a yellow-vest protest and stressed the rally was peaceful and open to anyone fed up with the federal government.
The convoy protesters demanded that the federal government scrap the carbon tax as well as two government bills: C-69, which would overhaul environmental assessments of energy projects, and C-48, which would ban oil tankers from the north coast of British Columbia.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has called Bill C-69 “the no-more pipelines bill.”
Moe and other Conservative premiers also oppose the federal carbon tax legislation.
The Trudeau government has passed legislation to impose a carbon tax on provinces and territories that didn’t sign on to the pan-Canadian framework on climate change. The legislation imposes a minimum of $20 per tonne of emissions.
Saskatchewan has filed a constitutional court challenge opposing the tax, and lawyers representing the provincial and federal governments made their opening remarks last week.
Meanwhile, Alberta has signed contracts with Canadian National and Canadian Pacific to lease 4,400 railway cars to move the province’s land-locked oil.
“Pipelines will always be the best, most efficient, most economical long-term solution,” Premier Rachel Notley told a news conference on Feb. 19. “We must take action today to provide more relief to our energy workers and the families who rely on these good jobs across this province and this country.”
With reporting by Limin Zhou in Ottawa. With files from the Canadian Press.