'We need our voices heard': Oil rig convoy set to parade Ottawa
Canadian energy industry advocates are taking their message – that Canada needs to treat its oil and gas sector better – directly to the Prime Minister’s doorstep.
Industry advocates in Alberta have started a GoFundMe campaign to help a convoy of trucks and personal vehicles travel from Western Canada to Parliament Hill for a rally.
“We can go 24/7, 365 [days] around Alberta, but we’re just not getting recognized for what’s happening to our oil industry,” Innisfail, Alta. council member Glen Carritt told BNN Bloomberg on Monday. Carritt is a main organizer of the Yellow Vest Convoy to Ottawa.
“They’ve had some rallies in Saskatchewan and British Columbia, as well,” he said. “We just thought: ‘We’ve got to get to Ottawa, because they’re not going to listen to us until we get there. We can do all we want out here, but we need our voices heard.’”
The convoy, which is set to depart Red Deer on Feb. 15, has raised over $18,000 towards its goal of $100,000 as of Monday afternoon. The convoy has also received support from AFD Petroleum Ltd., including 48,000 litres of fuel.
“The fuel and the expenses of this trip are going to be quite high,” Carritt told BNN Bloomberg. “They’re going to be probably into the millions of dollars depending on how many trucks we get. But we’re getting so much support up here, we’re looking at 1,000 trucks minimum going across the country here.”
According to the convoy’s GoFundMe page, the caravan expects to pick up vehicles along the way during its eastward trek. The page also notes a separate caravan from Eastern Canada is scheduled to meet up with its trucks in Ottawa, with an expected arrival between Feb. 19 to 23.
A 12 person panel, including certified accountants, have been convened by the initiative to help organize and oversee the distribution of fuel cards.
The message Carritt says the convoy wants to get across is that the product coming out of the oil sands is a viable product that needs to get to international markets.
“We have a great product that gets hammered by environmentalists time and time again because they can,” Carritt said. “We’ve got to change the image of our oil industry and we’ve got to get our product out to tidewater.”
“The industry has woken up. We’re just tired of our product getting slammed.”
Carritt added that if the funding initiative falls short, some participants may just start driving anyway.
“The trucks that are sitting, we’ve had so many people that have come to us and said: ‘You know what? I’ll just drive myself,’” he said.
“So, if the funds aren’t there, we’re coming. There’s no turning back.”