‘It’s scary’: Pro-pipeline activists in Calgary anxious about Trudeau policies

Unemployed drilling engineer Tammy Gates woke up Tuesday in a relative’s basement where she says she’s been forced to flop after four years without work.

But instead of fine-tuning her resumé, the 47-year-old mother of one decided she would attend a rally to protest federal government policies she believes are insensitive and hurtful to Albertans like her who depend on the energy sector for their livelihoods.

“The Trudeau government worries about layoffs at General Motors in Oshawa or the prospect of job losses at SNC-Lavalin, but what are they doing to help the hundreds of thousands of unemployed people in this province?,” she said

Down to the last $7,000 on her line of credit, Gates says she has had to abandon her MBA studies and withdraw her son from boarding school as she has struggled to make ends meet.

“It’s scary,” she said. “I’ve had to teach my son some hard economic lessons at a very young age.”

Having worked much of her career overseas, Gates understands that oil prices are set globally and that producers of light crude like Saudi Arabia or Bakken crude in the U.S. have lower costs than Alberta’s predominantly heavy-oil industry.

But she believes higher corporate taxes in Canada and the shortage of pipeline capacity to get Alberta’s oil to markets outside North America are the real reason she and so many other Albertans are out of work.

Chanting the familiar refrain “Build that pipe,” Gates joined a large crowd, which organizers claimed was 4,000 strong, who gathered on the Calgary Stampede grounds on Tuesday, a week before the federal government’s anticipated decision on the stalled Trans Mountain expansion for what was billed as the largest pro-oil-and-gas rally in Canadian history.

While the event was promoted as non-partisan, it had a distinct anti-Justin Trudeau flavour. Many in the crowd waved signs and wore T-shirts that expressed opposition to the Trudeau government’s decision to impose a price on carbon pollution, as well as to other proposed legislation they believe will further hurt Alberta’s ailing energy industry. And they listened to speeches from right-leaning politicians who promised to make their voices heard in the nation’s capital and, eventually, oust the Liberal government.

Trudeau’s Liberals have said they are trying to strike a balance that restores public trust and credibility to major project reviews in the wake of mounting public opposition to pipeline projects and setbacks from court decisions that have reversed federal approvals of two major West Coast oil pipeline projects.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who was initially alone in opposing the carbon levy through the courts, said there were now five provinces opposed to the tax.

“We were the only rig on the road,” Moe told the cheering crowd. “Today, you might say we have a convoy, a convoy that is headed to the Supreme Court and a convoy that is headed to the federal election this fall.”

Small business owner Barry Symborski sported a T-shirt with a derogatory description of Trudeau, while his wife, Lee, carried a sign denouncing the proposed federal Bill C-69, which she believes will make future pipeline projects difficult if not impossible to build.

The couple say they have had to use their retirement savings to keep their Calgary home security business afloat these last few years as customers who lost their jobs in the energy sector cancelled their monitoring contracts.

“We’re pissed off and we want to get rid of our prime minister,” he said.

“We just wish there was a better alternative than (federal Conservative Leader) Andrew Scheer,” his wife added.

full story at https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/06/14/news/its-scary-pro-pipeline-activists-calgary-anxious-about-trudeau-policies

 

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