Growing anger and frustration over Alberta’s stalled oil and gas economy will be demonstrated through another truck convoy that’s set to travel from Innisfail to Olds on Saturday morning.
“A lot of my friends have lost their businesses, their homes and their families…. We’re just trying to draw attention to the crisis in the oil and gas industry,” said Ron Bristow, who’s co-organizing the protest with Paul Hoffman.
Previous convoys have been deployed out of Red Deer, Drayton Valley, Rocky Mountain House, Nisku, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie and Brooks.
Bristow and Hoffman want to add more central Alberta clout to a burgeoning movement that could culminate with a truck convoy leaving Red Deer for Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 15.
Unlike that cross-Canada protest, Bristow and Hoffman’s convoy is not linked to the yellow vest movement. The two organizers say they want to keep their focus on the need for government to support more pipeline construction to stimulate Alberta’s energy-based economy.
“We have some of the same concerns” as the yellow vest protesters, said Bristow. But rather than sending a message about migrants and other issues that could be “skewed” by the media, they want to keep efforts honed on pushing the government toward greater support of pipeline projects.
Bristow said his Innisfail-based Bristow Projects Inc., a small-bore pipeline and facility construction business, has shrunk to 50 workers from a previous 200 in 2016-17.
Hoffman, health and safety director at Olds-based Parkland Pipeline Contractors, has stated his company has reduced work hours by 80 per cent since 2016.
“Thousands and thousands of people are suffering from a lack of employment,” said Bristow, who noted even businesses unrelated to the oilfield are shutting down due to a lack of sales.
“It’s terrible to see businesses closing their doors. Some of them have existed for 30 years or more. It’s sad to see…”
He expects about 200 semi-tractor trailers, pickups and service trucks to join a long lineup that will leave Bristow Projects Inc. at 3725 61st St. in Innisfail on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
It will travel travel down Highway 2 South, finishing up 45 minutes to an hour later at the Parkland Pipeline site at the end of 58th Street in Olds.
For more information, call Bristow at 403-350-6403 or Hoffman at 403-556-0626.