February 13, 2019 9:43 pm
Updated: February 14, 2019 9:07 pm

Truck convoy leaves Alberta for Ottawa Thursday: ‘This is about uniting Canada’

WATCH: A convoy left Red Deer for Ottawa Thursday to protest several issues including the carbon tax & bill C-69. As Tracy Nagai reports, people have been showing their support as the group travels across the country.

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A truck convoy left Red Deer, Alta., on Thursday morning for a four-day trek to Ottawa to take a message to politicians on Parliament Hill.

“This is about uniting Canada with everybody that has an issue with the current government — you know, oil and gas, carbon tax, Bill C-48, C-69, whatever the issue is,” organizer Glen Carritt told Global News on Monday.

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“This is the United We Roll, Official Convoy for Canada and this is the only convoy that’s going all the way across the country.

“Every peaceful, respectful Canadian is welcome to join.”

The trucks rolled out of Red Deer shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday. Carritt said about 150 trucks were involved, as well as a passenger bus for those who don’t have trucks. They had an RCMP escort as the convoy made its way out of the central Alberta city.

WATCH: After months of pro-pipeline rallies across the province, a truck convoy will leave central Alberta, headed to Ottawa on Thursday. Kent Morrison spoke with organizer Glen Carritt live in Red Deer.

“This is just fantastic support out here,” Carritt said. “Not all of these trucks obviously are going to Ottawa, but they’re here to support us leaving for Ottawa.

“There’s a good core of about 80 trucks that are going to go to Ottawa and pick up some in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and Ontario on the way and we’re taking some trucks right up to Parliament Hill.”

The invitation extends to those who support the yellow vest movement, Carritt said, as long as they’re peaceful.

“No matter what you wear — whether you’re a yellow vest, blue coverall, white hardhat, black hardhat or a suit and tie — it doesn’t matter. The radicals can stay home. You’re not welcome to this rally.”

WATCH: Truck convoy rolls through Calgary on the way to Ottawa

READ MORE: Here’s what to know about ‘yellow vest’ protests happening across Canada

Yellow-vest supporters are inspired by a range of issues, from their opposition to the carbon tax and delays in pipeline construction, to Canada’s signing of the United Nations migration pact.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a yellow vest or blue coveralls or black hard hat,” Carritt said. “Whatever it is, we respect everybody’s right to protest.”

READ MORE: Alberta oil and gas advocacy group cancels ‘Convoy to Ottawa’

Several groups initiated the Ottawa convoy in late 2018, but Rally for Resources cancelled, only saying it couldn’t “confidently mitigate the unexpected challenges associated with this event.”

Some members of the former Yellow Vest (official) Convoy to Ottawa will be joining United We Roll – Official Convoy for Canada.

READ MORE: Organizers worry truck convoy confusion could threaten pro-pipeline message

A GoFundMe page created by Carritt for the convoy describes its purpose.

“To show our concern to the current government that we oppose bill C48 and C69.

“We are in favour of pipelines to move our products in the oil and gas sector to the rest of Canada as well as the rest of the world. We are opposed to the current format of the carbon tax as well as the UN impact on Canadian borders.

“The funds raised will be used for fuel and incidentals, for vehicles traveling to Ottawa as well as meeting places at various stops on the route.”

READ MORE: ‘Lack of clarity’ in Bill C-69 leads Senate to send act to committee

Convoy drivers gathered at Gorts Truck Wash in Red Deer on Thursday. They left Red Deer shortly after 8 a.m., on the way to Calgary, Strathmore, Brooks, Medicine Hat and then Regina. As they travel east, other drivers are invited to join in.

Carritt said his group is working with police and plans to convene on Parliament Hill for a protest Feb. 19.

“Bill C-69, C-48, those bills need to be abolished,” he said.

WATCH BELOW: Aerial footage from Macmillan Sarvas of an eight-kilometre long pro-pipeline convoy through Whitecourt, Alta. on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2018.

READ MORE: Alberta environment minister says federal energy bill C-69 inadequate in current form

Introduced to the House of Commons in February 2018, the federal Liberals’ Bill C-69 would change how natural resource projects are assessed. The legislation would get rid of the National Energy Board, replace it with a Canadian Energy Regulator, and also create an Impact Assessment Agency to measure how best to mitigate environmental impacts from proposed developments. Some say it could also lead to confusion and delays over project timelines.

Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, would put a stop to crude oil tanker traffic on the B.C. North Coast and prohibit oil tankers carrying crude and persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading or unloading at ports in northern B.C.

READ MORE: Federal bill to ban tanker traffic on B.C. North Coast, excluding LNG

Carritt said he expects a few hundred trucks to make the entire cross-country trek.

“In our tough economic times, it’s pretty hard to get a lot, a few thousand trucks, but we’ve got a good core of a few hundred. We’re really wanting people to join us along the way wherever they can.”

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

Truck convoys have been a feature of several pro-pipeline rallies across Alberta in recent months.

WATCH BELOW (Dec. 19, 2018): A huge – and very loud – demonstration demanding government support for the energy sector and oil and gas industry saw a huge line of trucks drive through Nisku. Kent Morrison reports.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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