Rocky Mountain House’s Stephen Petersen says the oil industry has never been in a worse position.
“I’ve been in the industry for 12 years so I’ve seen the ups and downs,” he said. “I can tell you it’s never been as bad as it is right now. The atmosphere in the oil field is affected by the lack of day-to-day job security.
“There are 500,000 people who work in the oil and gas industry and we deserve a pipeline and we deserve to get our product out and sold.”
Petersen, 29, along with Oilfield Dads and Rally4Resources, hosted an oil and gas rally at the Lou Soppit Community Centre in Rocky Mountain House Saturday afternoon.
“We want a pipeline built,” said Petersen, whose father has been in the oil industry for 33 years. “We hope to get as many people out as we can to support oil and gas, and perhaps turn some heads to where it matters and get a pipeline built.”
Peterson said he was inspired to host a rally in Rocky Mountain House after more than 1,000 people attended a rally in Drayton Valley in early-December.
People in eastern Canada have shared support for the event through Facebook, Petersen added.
“This is good for all of Canada, not just for Alberta. We need to get this pipeline built,” he said.
Chad Miller, founder of Oilfield Dads, said the goal of the rally is to send a message to Ottawa.
“Stand up for Alberta, stand up for oil and stand up for our country.
“We have current governments that are bleeding Alberta dry,” he said. “We’re landlocked and we can’t get our resources to tidewater. There are so many rules, regulations and hurdles we’re trying to jump through all the time.”
Miller said rally organizers want to “scrap major key items” blocking the industry, such as Bill C69 and Bill C48.
“We all just want to go back to work,” he said. “If we don’t make some changes here now, who knows where we’ll be down the line.”
Miller said more Alberta communities are getting involved in pipeline rallies.
“It’s great to see the support because Alberta is an oil and gas province,” he said. “The numbers that show up in every community opens a lot of eyes. It’s not just Fort McMurray or Grande Prairie, it’s … all these little town hubs. A lot of us work in the oil and gas industry. We’re all in this together.”
Miller started Oilfield Dads shortly after the recession in 2015. He said it was created to be a networking and support group because he was struggling to find work.
“It just exploded with thousands of people sharing the same stories of distress and hardship. It also provided support and camaraderie and showed we’re not the only ones going through this,” he said.
Miller estimated about 1,000 attended Saturday’s rally.