Pro-energy protests stirring emotions on both sides of the debate
Every 15 minutes, about 200 trucks sounded their horns on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.
It was part of the ‘United We Roll’ rally, which is protesting the carbon tax and a lack of progress on pipelines.
“We came here to make some noise, and we made some noise,” said Glen Carritt, ‘United We Roll’ participant.
Protests like United We Roll are stirring up emotions in both sides of the argument.
The Liberal government said its main priority is addressing climate change, and cutting Canada's greenhouse gas emissions.
However, several Saskatchewan farmers are passionately against the carbon tax. Josh Mainil has 15,000 acres of farmland near Weyburn.
He drove to Ottawa to protest the carbon tax, because he said it will negatively impact his business.
“I think my livelihood depends on it. It does depend on it,” said Mainil. “My family has been involved in oil and agriculture for a long time. We're proud of it”
Estevan farmer, Jason LeBlanc, got involved in the movement after speaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a town hall meeting at the University of Regina in January. He said his message has been well-received in Ottawa.
“We threw a rock in the pond, and now the ripples are going out,” said LeBlanc. “It'll create some awareness that not everybody in Canada is happy.”
University of Saskatchewan political science professor Greg Poelzer said Canada’s energy sector – and the best way to deal with it – has become a polarizing topic. He said it’s a part of a world-wide anti-government movement spilling into Canada.
At the same time, Poelzer said much of the dialogue in the past few years has focused on the environment, and not the energy industry.
“You're seeing hard times in the oil in Alberta and in Saskatchewan, and the struggles we're having to get pipeline capacity built,” said Poelzer. “I think there's a pent-up frustration that the other side wants to tell their story too.”
While Trudeau did not speak at the protest, He did issue a statement that said he is shares the frustration felt by many in Western Canada, due to the lack of market access for oil and gas.
“After 10 years of inaction under Stephen harper, 99 per cent of our oil exports are still sold at a discount to the United States,” said the statement on behalf of Trudeau.
“That's why we're moving forward in the right way, through meaningful consultation, on projects like the Line 3 replacement and the Trans Mountain Expansion. We will always support the right of Canadians to be heard, but it is essential that their message not be co-opted by those who spew intolerant and divisive language.”