Western Canada has erupted in protest over denial of pipeline projects. Last week there was a truck rally from Virden to Brandon and a rally for resources in Regina that included some local residents. Cory Garvey made this sign for the Virden truck convoy, including a section of pipe. See inside for more photos from both events.

Pro-pipeline protests erupting

January 14, 2019 8:09 am
Kevin Weedmark

Large crowds were on hand for a convoy from Virden to Brandon on Saturday, Jan. 5 and for a pro-resource rally held at the Saskatchewan legislature on Tuesday last week, as discontent grows across the prairies over the difficulties in getting Western Canadian resources to market.

There is a plan for a Moosomin rally for resources in February. There will be discusion of that plan at the January Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Sinc Harrison was at both the Virden truck convoy and the Regina rally. He said he believes people taking part are worried about livelihoods in the energy sector and are doing everything they can to get their message through to Ottawa.

Large crowds for Virden to Brandon truck convoy and Regina Rally for Resources

“I get the sense that people are frustrated and they want to do something,” he said. “What affect they’ll have is very difficult to determine, but to sit and do nothing is not acceptable by some of us.”

“We realize the importance of pipelines and how important they are to making sure we meet our own energy needs instead of importing oil. The rallies are an act of frustration. People aren’t going to them because they want to spend money and burn gas, but because there’s a really important point that has to be made.

“I’m not directly affected by the threat of unemployment because of the situation with our resources, the difficulties getting them to market, but certainly a lot of people are.

“That sense was there in both Regina and Virden, where people are not working and are hurting.

“We see the direct benefits of pipeline construction right now in our own town with the amount of employment that is created by pipelines. That’s one reason we need to make the point, and then there’s the safety of pipelines as opposed to trucking and rail. There are a whole bunch of reasons why we should be doing this.

“Even if a pipeline was approved today it’s probably four or five years before it would be put into place, so it’s not that we’re going to get immediate results from this, but there is frustration out there and people want to express it, and from my past history of being involved in SARM and the RM of Moosomin you feel that you have to do something to get change.”

Harrison said he saw a lot of anger and frustration at the events last week.

“There’s frustration, there’s anger, but the Virden convoy was very peaceful and the Regina rally was very peaceful. In the Moosomin area anybody that I’ve been involved with so far has not wanted to get involved with the yellow vests and be associated with what’s going on in France and being disruptive. Anything that I’ve been involved with and would be involved with in the future would be a peaceful message to the government of Canada that things have to change.”

He said he is hopeful the message will get through.

“You try to attract the attention of the media and it’s got to get through to Ottawa. The majority of members of parliament are in the west but they are on the opposition side of the house and I think they’re in agreement.

“Larry McGuire (the MP for Brandon-Souris) was not present at the Virden event, but he had a person speaking. He made it quite clear that they were in favor of pipelines, and in Regina Denise Batters, one of the senators, spoke about her support for overturning Bill C69 but she mentioned a number of senators from Saskatchewan that did not oppose Bill C69, which was concerning, so they are obviously following party lines even though Senators are supposed to be non-partisan

“The message was very clear at both rallies. How much good it will do, nobody knows at this point.

“When you look at the TransMountain, everyone in Canada owns that. It’s sitting there, not doing anything. I haven’t heard anything for months as to whether there has been any progress there. It’s very frustrating for everybody and for those involved in the business.

“When you look at the amount of equipment that Banister has just for the section of pipeline they’re doing here, and there are sections being done right across, you realize there’s billions of dollars tied up when there’s requirement for pipelines. When contractors like Banister don’t get work, it has a ripple effect throughout the economy.

“Our efforts started over a year ago when we got SUMA and SARM to pass resolutions, then we followed up this summer, and the town and RM of Moosomin appointed me to try to work on this issue so I felt obligated to be at these rallies to see how they were functioning and what was going on, and perhaps assist in a rally that may be going on in our area in mid-February.”