United We Roll convoy, that began in Red Deer on Thursday, arrived in Ottawa Tuesday for a mass protest against federal energy and environmental policies. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Pro-pipeline protest convoy approaches Ottawa after rolling across country

OTTAWA — A convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners rolls into Ottawa Tuesday for a mass protest against federal energy and environmental policies that has also become a magnet for extremist, anti-immigrant elements.

A couple of hundred vehicles are expected on Parliament Hill as part of the United We Roll convoy, which began in Red Deer, Alta., on Valentine’s Day and made its way east over four days with stops for rallies along the way.

“The core message is we need immediate action for our pipelines to get in the ground, to get to tidewater and to the rest of Canada,” said lead organizer Glen Carritt, the owner of an oilfield fire and safety company in Innisfail, Alta.

The protesters want the Liberal government to scrap the carbon tax and two bills that overhaul environmental assessments of energy projects and ban oil tankers from the northern coast of British Columbia. Carritt said participants also are unhappy about the government’s recently signing a non-binding United Nations compact on global migration.

Carritt said Canada’s borders “need to be controlled” by Canada and its citizens, not the United Nations.

Another convoy was originally created by a group that called itself Canada Action, which cancelled the plan and refunded thousands of dollars in donations after that effort became associated with extremist elements in the Yellow Vests Canada movement.

Carritt originally referred to his convoy as a “yellow vest convoy” but renamed it United We Roll after it too was linked to people spewing hateful rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants.

“After much consideration we have decided to make this convoy about being inclusive and supporting Canadians first and foremost,” Carritt wrote on the protest’s GoFundMe page in late January. ”Our new name is United We Roll! Convoy For Canada!”

Some trucks in the convoy display the signature yellow vest garment on their front grilles but Carritt stresses the rally is open to anyone fed up with the federal government as long as they aren’t violent.

“Everybody’s involved,” said Carritt. “It doesn’t matter — you can wear a yellow vest, or blue coveralls or black hardhat or suit and tie. Everybody that’s peaceful is welcome.”

Jason Corbeil, another organizer, renounced any association with a Sault. Ste. Marie, Ont., yellow vest group that had claimed online to be part of the convoy. The blog of one of those organizers includes calls for specific politicians to be executed, refers to immigrants as “sub-human” and argues women don’t belong in politics.

Corbeil said the convoy does not condone hate and is about uniting people.

Evan Balgord, the executive director the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, however, is warning that the convoy is giving a platform for hate.

“This convoy is a Yellow Vests Canada convoy and any well-meaning pro-pipeline individuals involved are in fact legitimizing and breathing oxygen into the broader Yellow Vests Canada movement, which spreads hate, conspiracy theories, and death threats targeting Muslims, politicians, and other Canadians,” he said.

Indigenous Solidarity Ottawa is planning a demonstration near Parliament Hill Tuesday to counter the convoy’s protest, condemning what it calls “pro-pipeline, far right, and outright racist” rhetoric.

Saskatchewan Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall is planning to speak at the convoy’s Parliament Hill event Tuesday. She said she is pleased to participate and that the organizers have made clear the protest is about pipelines and energy policy, not hate.

“I see everyday Canadians who are out speaking out strongly in support of Canadian pipelines and their jobs and I want to be there to say I appreciate what they’re doing,” she said.

The rally could bring much of downtown Ottawa to a standstill over the next two days, with street closures planned around Parliament Hill to make room for the 200 or more semi-trailers, pickup trucks, cars and buses expected. While the United We Roll group is largely made up of people from Western Canada, a group of like-minded protesters from Eastern Canada is to join up with them in Ottawa.

Just Posted

Hundreds take part in Terry Fox Run in Red Deer

Terry Fox’s journey is more than a story. That’s why thousands of… Continue reading

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

SURREY, B.C. — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer continued making a pitch to… Continue reading

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: former colleague

A professor who once worked with an RCMP intelligence official charged with… Continue reading

More than 100 people participate in the Light the Night Walk in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Michael Wark was 27 when he was diagnosed with cancer.… Continue reading

‘Big bang’ precedes Red Deer house fire, says neighbour

A Red Deer home was heavily damaged by a fire early Friday… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: 10 effortlessly stylish items for fall

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Rebels stumble in final preseason game against Calgary Hitmen

Home opener on Sept. 21 against Edmonton Oil Kings

Kings and Queens soccer struggle against SAIT

The RDC Kings were unable to carry any momentum from a big… Continue reading

Two students dead, several seriously injured in Vancouver Island bus rollover

Two University of Victoria students died and more than a dozen other… Continue reading

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

VANCOUVER — High log prices and dwindling timber supply are driving the… Continue reading

Federal party leaders address gun violence in wake of weekend shooting

OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he’ll be speaking later Sunday… Continue reading

UAW members on the job at GM plants after contract expires

DETROIT — The four-year contract between General Motors and the United Auto… Continue reading

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

Most Read