Estevan – The United We Roll! convoy to Ottawa may be over, but that’s not the end of it for two of the participants, Jay Riedel of Estevan and Pat King of Red Deer. To that end, they are holding a townhall meeting at the Estevan Western Star All Suites Hotel at 7 p.m. on Saturday to tell people about the experience.
“We’re going to tell people about our experience through this convoy,” said Riedel, adding, “We’re going to have a question and answer period.”
The pair were among the organizers of the convoy which culminated in two days of rallying on Parliament Hill.
And while the convoy went to Ottawa with a message primarily focused on concerns with the energy policy of the current federal Liberal government, the duo came back with a much broader concept of issues that need to be addressed.
King said some of their key goals now are to give back to veterans, address homelessness, and include Indigenous people.
Riedel and King’s involvement with the convoy resulted in their spawning of their own Facebook page with over 2,800 followers. If can be found at https://www.facebook.com/RollinWithPatandJay/
King said he’s going to talk about his background. He moved to Alberta from Sault Ste. Marie fresh out of high school in the late 1990s to work in Alberta. He worked his way up from roughneck to toolpush on service rigs and did some drilling rig work. He worked throughout Alberta, as well as California, Oklahoma, Texas and North Dakota. It gave him a good life, with a wife and two kids, but he has since divorced.
A workplace accident caused massive damage to his right leg, and after 14 surgeries, he chose to have it amputated. After that he went back to school, got a degree in occupational health and safety, and is now a certified safety professional.
Most recently he was working in well testing, when he was laid off in November.
“Basically, everything in Alberta went through the floor. I got laid off,” he said.
Riedel is now also on a seasonal layoff, which provides them both with some time to do things like this town hall. Another is planned in Medicine Hat on March 9
Riedel said, “We’ll take about the love and support as we rolled across the country. The love and support grew and grew as the convoy went across Ontario.”
He said they would elaborate on the success of the convoy and what it achieved.
“We want to share our experience,” he said, noting it was a magical and emotional moment.
The pair spoke of the commonality of issues with the Canadians they met along the journey.
“This went out as oil and gas, and it came back uniting the country,” he said.