Dozens of vehicles left Lamont and organizers expected more to join as the group looped around Edmonton’s Anthony Henday Tuesday morning to demonstrate pipeline support and raise concerns with several other issues.
The “Stand Up Canada Yellow Vest Pipeline Rally” and truck convoy was scheduled to start in Lamont, Alta. at 9 a.m. Trucks then left Lamont and went north onto the Henday from Yellowhead Trail, making a full loop around the Edmonton ring road. The convoy was scheduled to end at the Highway 21 exit.
“This message needs to go to kids, to vets, to people that are seniors, the people that didn’t vote that need to vote. They need to stand up and they need to vote and need to put their opinion out there because it needs to be heard,” co-organizer Jack Graham said.
“Hopefully this convoy will bring awareness that we’re peaceful. We’re not doing it to cause anything.
“We’re not out there to be racist or to have people slander us and call us bigots or call us radicals. We’re not radicals; we’re just Canadians trying to make a difference,” Jack said.
Those participating said the goal was not to block traffic and the vehicles would stay in the inside lane. They are rallying to stress the Trans Mountain pipeline needs to be built and that the lack of market access means it’s even harder to find and hold good-paying jobs.
The convoy had a police escort.
Organizers previously said they were expecting about 2,200 people to participate in the convoy. About 25 vehicles were seen departing Lamont at the start of the convoy.
The plan was to have the convoy travel at about 60 km/h in the fast lane. However, part of the route was obstructed by a very large piece of machinery: a 63-metre-long de-ethanizer stripper was being transported.
Immigration concerns are part of the yellow vest movement. This group stressed it’s not anti-immigration. They want to see legal migration come through, however, they have concerns about the rate and amount of immigration to Canada during a down economy.
WATCH BELOW: (Dec.19, 2018) A huge crowd gathered in Nisku, south of Edmonton, for a pro-pipeline truck convoy and rally in support of Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Here’s a look at the convoy from the Global 1 news helicopter.
Tuesday’s event is the latest in a series of truck rallies, convoys and protests held across Canada, organized by separate groups. It’s not clear if there’s a connection between the rallies, but they have touched on a multitude of issues including immigration, pipelines and the energy sector.
“We stand for the Yellow Vest manifesto,” co-organizer Roberta Graham said on Monday. “Our first stand is on immigration. We want an end put to illegal immigration and we want legal immigrants at a rate that they can come into Canada and get the help they need and get integrated into Canada,” she said. “We really need to get our message out and let people know what we stand for and that we’re not racist.
“That’s one of our stands,” she continued. “We’re definitely pro-pipeline and we’re definitely anti-carbon tax.”
In mid-December, commuter chaos ensued on the Henday following a pro-pipeline rally and convoy that began south of the city hours earlier.
The December rally and convoy was organized by Truckers for Pipelines — a different group than the one organizing Tuesday’s convoy — to show their support of Alberta’s beleaguered energy industry.
Canada Action and Rally 4 Resources cancelled their Convoy to Ottawa, planned for mid-February. However, several other groups, including this yellow vest group, have been fundraising for their own convoys to Ottawa.
This group has organized a convoy to Ottawa starting on Feb. 14 from Red Deer to Parliament Hill.
“It’s going great,” Jack said, adding more than $100,000 has already been donated.
According to the group’s gofundme page, its cause is:
“Our goal is to put Western Canada’s oil field workers back to work, end the useless and redundant carbon tax, end the dependency on foreign oil and stop shipments from Saudi Arabia, see pipelines constructed to tidal water so increase Canada’s ability to get our resources to new and existing markets, see pipelines approved and built from both east and western oil fields and a host of other issues voiced by Canadians and to document the event for historic purposes.
“The ultimate goal is to have Justin Trudeau resign and let someone lead Canada that can make Canada a country to be proud of. The citizens of Canada are finished with being laughed at by the rest of the world for our PM’s reckless and uneducated decisions. Our stand on such issues as ‘Illegal Immigration’ is not about race, Canada welcomes ALL immigrants who come to Canada LEGALLY.”