Calgary – Canada Action, one of the organizing groups behind a protest convoy to Ottawa, has put the brakes on its plans. It was one of two convoys planned to depart central Alberta on Feb. 15, and arrive in Ottawa on Feb. 20. Canada Action and Rally 4 Resources had a coalition of organizations working on this convoy.
In a press release issued Monday, Jan. 14, Canada Action said, “We would like to recognize the overwhelming support and courage that so many Canadians from coast to coast have expressed in their desire to participate in the Resource Coalition Convoy to Ottawa. This event was planned in response to the overwhelming momentum that’s been building from our resource rallies.
“Unfortunately, we have come to the decision that it is no longer viable to proceed with our planned convoy. We cannot confidently mitigate the unexpected challenges associated with this event. As such, we will be issuing full refunds to all of our donors. We greatly appreciate your support. GoFundMe has advised us that donors will receive a full refund in 3-7 business days. Those who donated through the website will be contacted and fully refunded.
“While we are disappointed that we cannot proceed, we would like to assure our supporters that we are committed to advocating for our natural resource sector, and our national economy. Please continue to take action to get our economy back on track. We need your help and support in order to make continued progress. The Resource Coalition has a number of exciting events planned for 2019. We look forward to promoting Canada’s valuable natural resources side-by-side with our supporters. Thank you for all you do in support of Canada’s Resource sector. All questions may be directed to James by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 403-990-0401.”
Reached by phone, James Robson, office manager for Canada Action said, “There was a lot of confusion in the public. We didn’t feel we could mitigate that confusion.”
The confusion he referred to was with another convoy being organized by Yellow Vests, with nearly identical timing and missions. The difference is the message.
The Yellow Vest protests, while focusing on energy issues like pipelines, Bill C-69 and tanker bans, have also included reference to the recent United Nations Migration Pact and other issues related to migration. Canada Action and its partners have stressed they are focused on resources, and are non-partisan. It came to a point on Jan. 8, when the organizers for the rally in Regina asked protesters to leave their yellow vests at home.
“There was a lot of stuff going on,” Robson said, with regards to their decision to cancel the convoy.
In addition to split between the two protest movements, the practicality of a convoy to Ottawa has been an issue from the get-go. Pipeline News has spoken to oilfield service companies that would like to attend, but found sending a big rig to Ottawa, in February, typically the busiest time of the year, had its problems. It’s a ten day round trip from Alberta (eight from Saskatchewan). There are issues with fuel costs, commercial vehicle licenses, permits, hours of service, accommodations, and the possibility of a blizzard coming in off the Great Lakes that could stall the convoy. As a result, one company in Estevan determined it would be much simpler to take a pickup truck, instead, but that would take away some of the desired impact.
Robson acknowledged this, saying they were working with the Ontario department of transportation, and that pickups were more practical, but they don’t have to worry about it now.
Other projects are in the works, but much of their focus had been on this convoy.