There’s been some turns in the road, but it looks like there will indeed be a convoy of trucks rolling across Western Canada right up to Parliament Hill to let the government know the oil and gas sector has had enough.
Most of the rubber is expected to hit the road on Feb. 14, starting in Red Deer, Alta. After several fits and starts, a convoy of close to 300 units is coming together, according to organizer Glen Carritt, who spoke to Pipeline News on Feb. 6.
Trucks are also expected to start rolling a day earlier, in Peace River country in northwest Alberta and northeast British Columbia, so that they can make it to Red Deer to join the rest of the group.
From Red Deer the convoy will pass Strathmore, Brooks and Medicine Hat before crossing into Saskatchewan, arriving in Regina around 9 p.m. A few hotels have set aside blocks of rooms for booking, including one at Emerald Park, on Regina’s east side.
A group from southeast Saskatchewan is expected to join up with the main convoy as is passes through Virden the next morning.
The convoy is anticipated to pass Winnipeg in mid-afternoon and reach the Ontario border at 5:15 p.m. on Feb. 15, and then stay overnight at Kenora. The next day, the convoy is expected to reach Sault St. Marie, and then Anprior, near Ottawa, on Feb. 17.
Activities in Ottawa are expected to commence Feb. 19 with a convoy to Parliament Hill in the morning.
Recognizing that some people might not be able to commit to the entire expedition, organizers are encouraging people to join the convoy at one of the points along the route and go along for as long as they are able, whether that’s city-to-city or border-to-border.
A few trucks are expected to come from Eastern Canada, from New Brunswick and Quebec.
Several enthusiastic participants have gone so far as to cover their vehicles with decals, a form of rolling billboard. Carritt’s fire truck is one of them.
On the Hill
On Feb. 19 the convoy will roll out of Arnprior to Parliament Hill, where they will be parking nearby. “It’ll take us a couple of hours,” Carritt said.
Speeches at Parliament Hill will begin at 11 a.m. and the rally will carry on until 4 p.m. The permit for the rally indicates it will take place near the Centennial Flame and near the main stairs.
Not just oil and gas
“This isn’t just oil and gas, this isn’t just the farming industry, this is all Canadians,” Jason Corbeil, the organizer who has been organizing the trucks, said in a Facebook live broadcast on Feb. 6.
Carritt said they will be coming back on Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. to noon for a few more speeches and to ensure everything is cleaned up. After that, he expects the convoy to disperse and head back home on their own timing and accord, whether they choose to leave that day or the next day.
“We’re tired of the carbon tax. We’re tired of Bill C-69,” Carritt said in the same Facebook broadcast
Sorting out the convoys
The month of January was punctuated by some growing pains, as it were, in organizing a convoy to Ottawa. Initially there were two convoys planned, one under the banner of Yellow Vests, and a second by a coalition led by Canada Action.
The Canada Action efforts ended on Jan. 14, in large part because they did not want to be associated with any negative connotations affiliated with some Yellow Vest supporters. So at that point it was down to one convoy, with the key rallying point being the Yellow Vest (Official) Convoy to Ottawa Facebook page.
However, in late January there was a schism in the leadership of that effort as well. Two of the key organizers, Carritt, an Innisfail city councillor, and Corbeil, a service rig consultant, broke from the Yellow Vest (Official) Convoy group and reformed under the banner “United We Roll! Official Convoy for Canada!”
Under the new name, they aren’t saying those wearing yellow vests are not welcome, but they are no longer promoting that highly identifiable sign of protest, either.
Convoy organizers in southeast Saskatchewan, like Jay Riedel and David Grass, fell into lockstep behind Carritt and Corbeil.
A week later, it was evident that the efforts on the Yellow Vest (Official) Convoy to Ottawa Facebook page all but folded after the departure of Carritt and Corbeil, and the United We Roll group would be proceeding.
A Jan. 26 pinned post on the Yellow Vest (Official) Convoy page by its initial founder, C.J. Clayton, said, “We can’t fight the Liberals and our own people. The bickering has to stop. We need to get trucks to Ottawa.”
Asked about this, Carritt said “The controversy has caused people to fall off.”
But the convoy is still rolling, nonetheless.