Weyburn, Regina – In late December, a call went out, and a convoy 15 kilometres long made up principally of heavy trucks made its way through Estevan, protesting the energy policies of the Justin Trudeau-led federal Liberal government. It was a cathartic moment for the Saskatchewan oilpatch, which is not known for protesting.
A similar call is going out now – to bring a convoy to Regina on Thursday, April 4, and hold a rally at the Queensbury Centre to fight the carbon tax and stand up for energy issues.
This time it will be during spring breakup, when most people in both the oilpatch and in agriculture aren’t tied up. Organizers are hoping for a very large turnout.
A group of a dozen organizers from southeast Saskatchewan have been meeting in mid-March to bring together this convoy and rally. The effort is being called the “Regina Rally Agasint the Carbon Tax.” They hope to bring in participation from throughout Saskatchewan.
The details are being worked out, but as of March 14, the plan is to have the convoy gather throughout Saskatchewan. In southeast Saskatchewan, Carnduff and Estevan participants would in Estevan and come up Highway 39 through Weyburn. Carlyle and Stoughton participants would come down Highway 13 to Weyburn and join up there.
The Regina staging point is yet to be determined at this this time. It will depend on the numbers committed, which is why it is important for convoy participants to register online. The organizers would like to see participants from other areas of the province, like Swift Current and Kindersley, to join in. The plan at this point is to start rolling into the city at 11 a.m., travelling the heart of Regina on Albert Street.
Watch pipelinenews.ca for updates as the time comes closer to the event.
The routing through Regina is still being determined in coordination with the Regina Police Service. The destination is the Queensbury Centre on the city’s west side, where a rally will be held at 2 p.m. At its conclusion, the convoy will disperse. The public who are not taking part in the convoy are invited to attend the rally at the Queensbury Centre, but it might be best to catch a ride, as much of the parking lot will likely be needed for convoy units.
There are four key points the organizers want to focus on:
- Support the fight against the carbon tax
- Build pipelines
- Kill Bill C-69
- Kill Bill C-48
Those last three points are intimately related. Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act and Canadian Energy Regulator Act, has been characterized by opponents as the “no more pipelines” bill, while Bill C-48 formalizes a ban on oil tankers exporting Canadian oil off the northern British Columbia coast. The policies that are behind Bill C-69 were instrumental in killing the TransCanada Energy East Pipeline project and the tanker ban killed the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. Also at play is the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline, a project which the federal government bought last year for $4.5 billion, but still has not built due to yet another review ordered by the Federal Court of Appeal.
Yellow vests prohibited
That energy-specific list is focused for a reason. Earlier oilfield protests held throughout Western Canada were characterized by the Yellow Vest movement. However, a subset of the Yellow Vests also brought up concerns about the United Nations and migration, and the toxic controversy about those topics took away from the energy message.
The organizers want zero association with the yellow vest movement. As a result, organizers of the Regina Rally to Fight the Carbon Tax are saying that while everyone is welcome, “Yellow Vests are prohibited.”
That’s in keeping with several other recent rallies in Saskatchewan, including one on the Legislature steps in early January, and another in Moosomin in mid-February which both asked people to leave their yellow vests at home.
Many of the organizers of this current rally and convoy were involved with the mid-February United We Roll! convoy to Ottawa, and sent trucks of their own as part of that convoy. They are taking their knowledge gained from that effort, and applying it to this one.
Carbon tax affects all
While there is an energy focus, the organizers are seeking involvement from the agricultural community as well as small business, particularly due to the implementation of the carbon tax, which will be imposed on Saskatchewan on April 1. The wide-ranging effects of the carbon tax is expected to impact all sectors of the economy.
The group putting the effort together is not just oilpatch. Indeed, there are a number of farmers also involved, and even a shortline railway owner. About half of the organizers are farmers, with some of them in both farming and the oilpatch. Their concerns about the carbon tax and its impact on agriculture are paramount.
Jason LeBlanc, a farmer and auctioneer from Estevan, noted, “Small business, householders, agriculture, oilfield, natural resource sectors, clothing stores, medics, accountants, truckers, etc. are all feeling the affect of a Canadian carbon tax.”
LeBlanc spoke at length on Parliament Hill during the Ottawa convoy about the impact of the carbon tax on agriculture (see the whole speech here). He had a semi parked up close to the gates of Parliament. He wants to support the Saskatchewan government’s fight against the carbon tax, as Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe was the initial leader in the fight against the carbon tax when other provinces were signing on.
Leblanc said, “After we got back from the Ottawa trip, which we deemed as very successful, many people reached out to us who would have liked to have gone, and wished to partake in something if we ever did it again. We felt there were enough people who said they wanted to be part of it.
“Scott Moe is the only man who took on the federal government against the carbon tax. This is a chance for those who want to be heard to stand up.
“This is a group of people who want to do something, from farmers to associations to city people – just everybody! We’re participating because something has to be done.”
Parked close behind LeBlanc’s truck was a semi from Weyburn’s Jerry Mainil Ltd. Dale Mainil, who was also on Parliament Hill, is one of the key organizers of the Regina Rally. Mainil said, “We have to stand up and fight against these destructive policies by this federal government, and its radical green agenda. The oil and ag industries are good stewards of the land and its time to bring common sense back to government, one that balances the economy and the environment.”
In order to provide Regina police with numbers of expected participants (so they can have enough officers to block traffic to allow the convoy through), everyone who plans on putting a vehicle (or, preferably, multiple units) in the convoy is asked to register on the event’s website, at https://www.reginarallyagainstthecarbontax.ca.
Principal communication is being done through the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ReginaRallyAgainstTheCarbonTax/