A rally in Stettler to show support for the oil and gas industry included more than 150 semis and vehicles and drew a crowd of about 250.
The Jan. 26 Heartland Rally focused on ending the carbon tax, saying no to UN global compact migration and building the pipelines.
Jason Nixon, MLA for Sundre - Rocky Mountain House – Rimbey spoke on behalf of the UCP Party and Leader Jason Kenney. Also speaking were Rick Strankman, MLA Drumheller - Stettler, George Clark from Albertans First and UCP Drumheller-Stettler candidate Nate Horner. Town of Stettler Mayor Sean Nolls and Stettler County Reeve Larry Clarke declined invites to participate.
Organizer Greg Tschritter said the rally isn’t connected to any specific group and they are an independent rally of Alberta residents.
“We are all here standing together for the same reasons,” said co-organizer Julia Mitchell.
“Our freedoms are in jeopardy and unless we say no to the carbon tax and UN migration, our sovereignty is at risk.
“The gun is aimed at Alberta,” she added. “Small businesses, the beef industry, dairy farmers, so we are here to say repeal Bill C 48, no to Bill C 69, build the pipelines, let us live and work and stop trying to make us tax slaves.”
Jason Nixon, MLA for Sundre – Rocky Mountain House – Rimbey slammed the provincial NDP government and the federal Liberals for their policies that are hurting Alberta’s oil industry.
“Other provinces inside our jurisdiction and the federal government should not be blocking our resources from coming to market. This is best oil in the world, the most ethical oil in the world, and for other places in our country and our prime minister to argue it’s OK to buy oil from dictatorships overseas - that have some of the worst human rights in the world - and then block Alberta’s good oil and insult our workers like that, I say this shame on you Justin Trudeau, we will not accept it anymore.”
READ MORE: Oil and gas supporters plan Stettler rally
Nixon said the Alberta NDP continually says on TV that they are defending Alberta’s oil industry but added, “Inside the legislature, they take action each and every day to defend Justin Trudeau.”
Nixon said Bill C 69 is a law that will ensure no more pipelines are ever built in Alberta. He said the NDP’s won’t unite in the legislature and “call on Justin Trudeau to withdraw that bill and stop blocking our pipeline.
“If we don’t get this right our province will never be the same,” added Nixon. “We have survived a tough term both federally and provincially but we cannot survive a second term. We have to stay united.”
Drumheller – Stettler UCP candidate Nate Horner said Alberta is now $60 billion in debt and it will be $100 billion in debt if the NDP get a second term.
“We have lost 40 billion in the oil and gas industry since the ND’s got in. we have lost countless jobs. We know about the bankruptcies and the insolvencies. We lost 17,000 jobs in December we know how dire things are.”
Horner said we need to make Alberta competitive again.
“Five years ago Alberta was the number one most competitive combined tax jurisdiction in North America. Do you know what it is today? 50th, 50th out of 60. It’s no surprise $40 billion has left this industry.”
If the UPC’s are elected Horner said they would push for a referendum on equalization.
“If we cannot get a fair deal you cannot enjoy the resource wealth of Albertans and Alberta and then continue to block pipelines. It is unfair and it has to end. We are proud of ourselves and our products. We are not the embarrassing cousins like Rachel called us.”
Horner said, however, that there is hope.
“There is light, there is hope. It’s about our kids and our future.”