Lloydminster, Kindersley, Grande Prairie – While a Yellow Vests protest drew over 50 people to Estevan’s City Hall, it was just a small part of a phenomena that drew people out across the country on Saturday, Dec. 15.
The rallying point has been the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook Page. It was started on Dec. 5. By Dec. 17, it had grown to 92,600 members, adding nearly 40,000 members from Dec. 15. In the space of time it took from beginning to write this article to posting it, 1,400 people joined the Yellow Vests Canada page.
In Regina, approximately 200 people lined the bridge along Albert Street near the Legislature.
Lloydminster had upwards of 500 people, said Daniela Tobler, who does sales with Classic Oilfield Service, a local company. Tobler was one of 16 people from Classic which attended the event. It took place at Lloydminster City Hall, at the intersection of Highway 17 (the border) and Highway 16, the Yellowhead Highway.
“There were tons of people driving by, honking and waving,” Tobler said on Dec. 17. “From our company, we had 16 people.”
Asked what message they wanted to get out, Tobler said, “We were trying to convey that we’re not happy with the carbon tax. We think these pipelines need to move forward.
Tobler added, “We think its important the rest of the country becomes educated. This is Canadian oil, not Alberta or Saskatchewan oil. Importing from countries with lower environmental standards has a bigger footprint than using our own oil.”
While not directly affiliated with the Yellow Vests, Kindersley held a rally on Dec. 15 in support of oil and gas. The event, held at the Kindersley Mall, that attracted over 150 people.
Ryan Orton, organizer of the Kindersley event, said, on Dec. 17, “I wanted to focus more on pro-Canada oil and pipelines.
“People are really upset. It feels like we’re under attack from our own federal governments. I wanted to create a positive thing to show support for our local oil and gas workers and their families. Their families feel it the most.”
Although no longer working in the patch, he had previously worked seven years in the oil patch, as a pipeliner and on service rigs.
He noted, “People are ashamed we’re an oil-producing country. I’m proud, and we’ve got ethical oil.”
Grande Prairie drew one of the largest, if not the largest, turnouts on Sunday, Dec. 16. Various estimates note around 750 trucks took part in a convoy through the city that acts as the hub for northwest Albertan and northeast British Columbia. Aerial photos show bumper to bumper trucks of every conceivable application in the oilpatch: pump trucks, pickers, cranes, frac units, service bodies and everything in between taking part. RCMP estimates for the rally are at least 1,500 people showed up at Grande Prairie’s Muskoseepi Park, according to Global News, but hundreds if not thousands lined the streets that the convoy wound through, as evidenced by video posted on social media. It was at this rally that United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney spoke.
Kenney told the crowd, “This is not just the fight of our lives, for our prosperity, for our schools and hospitals and way of life. This is a fight that matters for the world. We need more Canadian energy to displace dictator oil all around the world.”