Western Canadian grassroots group plans ‘Convoy to Ottawa’ to push pipelines

Click to play video: 'Alberta truck convoy in support of oil and gas industry'
Alberta truck convoy in support of oil and gas industry
Dec. 19: A huge crowd gathered in Nisku, south of Edmonton, Wednesday for a pro-pipeline truck convoy and rally organized by Truckers for Pipelines. Here's a look at the convoy from the Global 1 news helicopter. – Dec 19, 2018

Many in the oil and gas industry are hurting and they’ve been finding large-scale and visible ways to show the federal government how desperately they need to get their product to market.

In February, Canadians could witness a massive convoy from Alberta to Ottawa.

Rally 4 Resources, a grassroots movement based in Red Deer that promotes resource-based industries, is planning a Convoy to Ottawa beginning on Feb. 15.

READ MORE: Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

“Families who work in and support the Canadian oil and gas industry have been speaking up,” the event post on Rally 4 Resources’ Facebook page explains.

“Canadians across the country have emailed letters, made phone calls, signed petitions and rallied across the country. We need to make sure Ottawa is hearing us.

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“We need Justin Trudeau’s government to stop Bill C69 and C48, do everything to get Trans Mountain built now and get Energy East back on the table.”

READ MORE: Hard-hit Drayton Valley businesses invite prime minister to talk oil, economy: ‘We need your help’

“A convoy from Western Canada to Parliament Hill is being planned. Details will be published as they are finalized and a gofundme page to donate to the cause will be set up in January and linked to from our official Facebook page,” the message continued.

“The convoy would end on Feb. 20 in Ottawa with a rally on Parliament Hill. Letters with family and individual photos voicing their support for the industry opposition will be delivered to the Senate.”

Nicole Wapple, the founder of Rally 4 Resources, said she started working on this group back in 2016 during all the back and forth on the Northern Gateway pipeline project. At that time, she said, there wasn’t enough interest in a large-scale display like a convoy to Ottawa.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau halts Northern Gateway, approves Kinder Morgan expansion, Line 3

“People weren’t affected yet,” she said. But the momentum has changed now.

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READ MORE: Nisku truck convoy and pro-pipeline rally ‘way bigger than expected’: organizer

On Wednesday, a massive 22-kilometre truck convoy along a highway in Nisku, Alta., was organized by Truckers for Pipelines. Many vehicles and supporters displayed signs that read: “I love Canadian oil and gas,” and: “We should be proud of Canadian oil and gas.”

Children came to cheer on their parents, holding signs like: “I am a proud patch kid” and: “All dads in oil and gas kick a** because hugging a tree doesn’t feed me.”

Watch: Truck drivers hit the road in Nisku Wednesday morning as a way to demonstrate their frustrations with how Alberta is being treated and demanding action on pipelines. Fletcher Kent reports. (Dec. 19) 

Click to play video: 'Turnout at Nisku truck convoy exceeds expectations'
Turnout at Nisku truck convoy exceeds expectations

Later Wednesday, afternoon rush hour in Edmonton slowed down to a crawl in parts of the city’s south side and outside city limits in the wake of the massive pro-pipeline convoy that got underway hours earlier.

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READ MORE: Commuter chaos in Edmonton after Nisku pipeline convoy moves into the city

While Rally 4 Resources didn’t have anything to do with the Nisku convoy, Wapple is encouraged to see demonstrations supporting workers and families in the energy sector. She describes herself as a third-generation oil patch kid. Her husband works in the industry and she did too until their children arrived.

Since March, Rally 4 Resources, along with another group called Canada Action, have organized about 24 rallies across Canada.

READ MORE: Pro and anti-Trans Mountain pipeline protesters clash in Calgary

Wapple is still working on the logistics for the February convoy — including fundraising and sponsorship to cover some of the costs — but is determined to see it through.

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In terms of turnout and cross-country participation, Wapple isn’t sure what to expect from the February convoy, but she’s hopeful.

“The response has been good… I think it’s going to be big,” she said.

“I hope it inspires people from other parts of the country to join us in Ottawa.”

Rally 4 Resources describes itself as a non-partisan movement that is simply about supporting families and trades connected to resource sectors.

READ MORE: Here’s how Ottawa’s $1.6B boost for Alberta oil compares to past aid packages, bailouts

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