Nicole Wapple and Jeff Malchow are helping to host a Rally for Resources event today. At about 9:15 a.m.

Group backing liquefied natural gas project finds sympathetic ear in Red Deer

A group of supporters of a $36-billion liquefied natural gas project in B.C. will pass through Red Deer on Wednesday morning hoping to garner support as they make their way to Ottawa by bus.

A group of supporters of a $36-billion liquefied natural gas project in B.C. will pass through Red Deer on Wednesday morning hoping to garner support as they make their way to Ottawa by bus.

FSJ for LNG (Fort St. John for Liquefied Natural Gas) will be hosted by a local group that also hopes to make its way to Ottawa in the fall to raise awareness and promote the importance of the resource industry and pipelines in Canada.

Nicole Wapple, a Red Deer woman whose husband, father and grandfather have all worked in the oilpatch, said the group she is involved with, Rally for Resources (R4R), will be hosting the Fort St. John group, which left the Northern B.C. community on Monday.

Wapple said her group will meet up with the Fort St. John group this morning at 9:15 a.m. in the northeast parking lot at the Parkland Mall, and escort them through Red Deer to the UFA Card Lock on the east side of Gasoline Alley where there will be a quick meet and greet at 10 a.m.

FSJ for LNG is concerned that the Pacific Northwest LNG project near Prince Rupert has run into delay after delay for the LNG export terminal and associated pipelines.

In March a convoy of over 600 trucks drove the Alaska Highway, urging Ottawa to approve the project.

Fort St. John has one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada, said Alan Yu, who is with the group and driving the bus from their community to Ottawa. They expect to arrive there on June 1.

Yu, who was speaking from Edmonton on Tuesday and headed off in a convoy to the Alberta legislature, said they need the giant LNG project to go ahead as soon as possible.

The slowdown in the oilpatch has hit that community and the B.C. Peace Region hard as well, said Yu, adding many people have lost their homes and businesses have closed. About a year ago the unemployment rate in the area was insignificant and now it’s almost 10 per cent, he said.

They expect to also be in Calgary and Medicine Hat on Wednesday, and are aiming to hit Winnipeg during the Liberal Party of Canada’s biennial convention on May 26-28. In Ottawa they will meet up with their MP Bob Zimmer and attend question period, Yu said.

Wapple said her group connected with the Fort St. John group a few months ago and R4R had been organizing a convoy to Ottawa for this week but then the Fort McMurray fires happened. “Everybody got sidetracked helping out with that … and so it should be,” Wapple said.

They have postponed that trip to Ottawa until September now, after the House of Commons summer break.

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