Three Sylvan Lake residents are making waves in the world of social media this week with the creation of a Facebook event titled, ‘Stand UpFor AB. Be Seen, Be Heard’ stating their intent to hold a rally on Friday.
Lisa Nielsen, Sheri Hutlet and Steven Ruttan created the event on Facebook after countless conversations with friends, family and co-workers expressing their concerns for the province.
The trio has invited oil and gas workers, farmers, ranchers, veterans, bikers, small business owners and people from all walks of life to stand beside them on Friday alongside Highway 11 for a rally where they say they will, ‘let Rachel Notley know that she needs to step down.’
The notion began one evening after work when Nielsen was discussing change with her co-workers.
“Everything from coal to the oil sands cap to bill 6 to bill 8,” said Nielsen on her frustrations. “Whether it’s our farmers or our oil and gas workers – it has affected so many people,”
“We’ve been saying for a while – it’s going to take people standing up. We can all sit here and we can all complain all we want, but that’s not going to change anything.”
The idea was pitched to Nielsen to host a rally but she added she knew she couldn’t organize it alone. She pondered on the idea and ended up on the name of a friend who had recently been laid off from his job in the oilfield.
“I asked him if he wanted to join me and within five minutes he had an event created on Facebook,” said Nielsen on asking Ruttan to help her.
Ruttan, who moved to Sylvan Lake under a year ago following a 14 year career with the Canadian Armed Forces as an artillery soldier andSpecial Forces sniper, took a job with an oilfield company in hopes of the ‘Alberta Dream’ only to be laid off this past fall.
“Being a soldier you don’t make a tonne of money – you do it for your country,” said Ruttan. “Alberta and Canada was the land of prosperity and promise but what is it now? What did I fight for? All we can do is hope it picks back up soon.”
He added he feels people need to band together as a community and as a province.
“We need to let our government know that what they are doing is not the best thing for us,” Ruttan said. “It’s about time people have stood up and worked together to and see all walks of life in Alberta come together.”
“It breaks my heart to have spent all these years watching civil unrest happen in the countries I served in, just to come home and watch this happen and see that my government doesn’t have my back. I want to see Notley and the NDP out by the end of 2016.”
Hutlet joined forces with her two friends as she to feels the government is not listening to the people.
“It’s like they have no idea they have a revolt on their hands,” said Hutlet. “There’s no transparency anymore – it’s scary to look at our future right now and it’s time we stood up and fought for our province.”
Nielsen added she believes Bill 6 ‘really pushed people over the edge’.
“I myself am not a farmer, but watching what they are doing to the farmers – I’ve just had enough of watching it and it’s scary,” she said.“To think they would do this within the first six months regardless of how many emails or phone they are receiving and how many people are voicing their concern – they have complete disregard, I can only imagine what’s to come.”
At the time of press over 10,000 invites had been sent to the event with hundreds saying they would be in attendance. Nielsen stated a group titled ‘Stand Up For Alberta’ will also be in attendance at the rally with a legal petition available for attendees to sign asking the premier to step down.
Hutlet concluded she hopes on the day of the rally they will see all walks of life unite.
“We want all of Alberta to be seen and be encouraged to stand next to their neighbour,” said Hutlet.
The “Stand Up For AB. Be Seen, Be Heard’ rally will be held on Highway 11 and Range Road 20 at 11 a.m. on Friday, December 18th.