A rally to show support for the oil and gas industry is planned for Stettler.
Organizer Greg Tschritter said the rally isn’t connected to the Yellow Vest Campaign that advocates for pipelines and associated with opposition to the Trudeau government.
“We don’t want to be attached to any platform but if you want to wear a yellow vest then absolutely bring it on,” said Tschritter in a phone interview Saturday.
“This is about uniting as Albertans and Canadians.”
The rally focuses on three main concerns: 1) Stop the carbon tax; 2) Protect Canadian sovereignty with no UN global compact for migration; 3) Protect energy and resources by building the pipelines.
Tschritter said the UN global compact is a hot topic and there needs to be dialogue on the issue.
“Is this something as Canadians we want rammed down our throats without any consultation?”
Tschritter said Bill C-48, which bans oil tanker traffic on the north coast of B.C. and Bill C-69 aimed at revamping the National Energy Board, hurt the oil and gas sector.
“They land lock us and are not good for Western Canada. We need to talk about them as well.”
Tschritter said Stettler and area is a huge agricultural area and they want to see farmer participation.
“You don’t see a lot of farmers in the rallies. We are trying to rally the farming community.”
He said the provincial NDP’s proposal to add 7,000 rail cars to get Alberta oil to market isn’t a solution. He said a rail system full of oil tankers would hinder the movement of grain.
“Put the grain on the train and the oil in the pipeline.”
Organizers invited Alberta UCP leader Jason Kenney but it’s not confirmed yet if he will attend.
“We let Jason know we have the rally and it depends if it fits into his schedule,” said Tschritter.
Guest speaker Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman is at 11:30 a.m.
Other speakers invited include George Clark of Albertans First that opposes the Carbon Tax, UCP candidate Nate Horner, Town of Stettler Mayor Sean Nolls and Stettler County Reeve Larry Clarke.
Stettler is hosting the Alberta Scotties and it will be on during the Stettler Heartland Rally/Convoy Stettler East.
“We needed lots of time to plan and it just happened to fall on that weekend,” said Tschritter. “There will be a lot of people in town and that is to our advantage. The more people the better.”
The event is family friendly.
“No violence will be tolerated,” said organizer Lorne Murfitt in an email.
On Heartland Rally/Convoy Stettler East’s Facebook page Murfitt says, “This is about Alberta and what Albertans have to say. We want to stand up for Alberta and Canada. We need to make it clear to governments we have now and our future governments that we want to be heard.”
In recent weeks rallies and convoys are being held across Alberta and Saskatchewan protesting the federal government’s policies such as Bill C-48 and Bill C-69.
Pro-pipeline protesters are planning a convoy to Ottawa in February to demand the federal government take action. The federal government has the constitutional power and legislative authority to build the pipelines.
In December Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $1.6 billion to help energy companies struggling after oil prices plummetted.
Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the aid package isn’t what Albertans want, and instead, they want the pipelines built and to get back to work.
Scheer promised if the Conservatives are elected in the next federal election he will scrap the carbon tax and introduce legislation that acknowledges pipelines are in the national interest.
The rally is set for Jan. 26 starting at the Stettler Petro-Canada on Hwy 12.
Marshalling of the vehicles starts at 10:30 a.m., as well as coffee and snacks. Donations to the local food bank are encouraged and accepted.
The speakers start at 11:30 a.m. A convoy of supporters starts at about 1:30 p.m. through Stettler.
The group needs volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering or wanting more information can call or text Greg Tschritter at 403-741-5579 or Julie Franz at 403-740-5407.