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Politics

Tensions run high at Calgary pro-pipeline rally as council declares support for oil industry

WATCH: Mon, Dec 17: A pro-pipeline rally got heated in Calgary as demonstrators heckled some speakers when they mentioned Quebec, free trade and the federal Liberal government. Global’s Tomasia DaSilva reports.

Angry protesters demanding that Canada build new pipelines interrupted speeches by Calgary’s mayor and councillors at a downtown rally Monday.

Loud boos rose from the crowd at any mention of Quebec or free trade after city council passed a resolution declaring its support for the oil and gas industry.

READ MORE: Quebecers critical of Alberta oil but buying more gasoline, SUVs, bigger homes: report

The resolution also called for solutions to a crisis in low oil prices blamed on a lack of pipeline export capacity.

Members of council said they will take a concerted effort to go to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention in Quebec City in May to underscore the importance of the energy industry in driving the Canadian economy.

Council will also look at forming a relationship with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and other industry stakeholders. The mayor will also write letters to the prime minister expressing concerns with current legislation that is negative towards the industry.

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The issue, while passing unanimously, was not without some drama as Jeromy Farkas brought the matter forward but refused to remove a reference to the city supporting drastic anti-pipeline advocacy efforts in the past, which other council members said was false.

Tensions running high

Cody Battershill of Canada Action, who organized Monday’s rally, stepped up to ask the crowd of around 1,000 to stop shouting when Mayor Naheed Nenshi began to speak in French — a message aimed at the people of Quebec.

A volley of boos also rang out when Councillor Peter Demong pointed out that Quebec city council supports pipeline construction and, therefore, Calgary residents should buy Canadian cheese, not take part in trade boycotts.

Tim Vader, who described himself as an under-employed well site geologist, says he attended the rally to send a message to Ottawa.

“We’ve had enough of the globalist elite determining how the rest of the world and average Canadians are going to live,” he said Monday. “I’m tired of it.”

READ MORE: Calgary yellow vest protesters target economy, immigration at rally

There were a scattering of yellow construction vests in the audience but none of those interviewed said they are associated with the anti-United Nations Yellow Vest Canada group that held rallies in Calgary and other cities across Canada on Sunday.

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Vader, who was wearing a vest, said he identifies with vest-wearing French workers who have been recently staging sometimes-violent protests against their government.

— With files from Aurelio Perri