Second Alberta man told to remove pro-oil and gas shirt during Parliament tour
TORONTO -- For the second time this month, a Calgary man was told to remove his “I love Canadian oil and gas” shirt while visiting Ottawa’s Parliament.
Chris Wollin said a security officer told him that he couldn’t wear his sweatshirt, which displayed his support for the oil and gas industry, because the Senate prohibits political messages in the building.
A similar incident earlier this month sparked national attention and an apology from Parliament security, which leaves Wollin wondering why he was told to remove his shirt.
“I’m not sure what is political about supporting our national energy sector,” he told CTV News. Wollin works in off-grid energy solutions at Simark Controls Ltd.
William Lacey, also from Calgary, was wearing the same shirt during a Senate tour over the September long weekend.
He was also told by security that he had to remove his shirt because “some people may view that as being offense.” Lacey turned his shirt inside-out and continued the tour.
Lacey was issued a formal apology and was told the incident was a mistake.
Parliamentary Protective Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the most recent incident, but Superintendent Guillaume Vandal wrote in an email on Sept. 5 that “personnel misinterpreted a message on the visitor's article of clothing.”
“The staff involved will be receiving operational guidance and training with respect to visitors to the Hill.”
Wollin, who was visiting Ottawa with his fiancé, is confused how security staff failed to get the message across to each of their personnel.
“You’d think with something happened so recently, they would have been briefed and it wouldn’t have been an issue,” he said. “If my shirt said ‘I love the auto industry’ or ‘I love the forestry industry’, it wouldn’t have been an issue so I’m not sure why there’s any sort of prejudice toward the oil sector.”
The Parliament of Canada's website states: "Participating in any form of demonstration inside the buildings is prohibited, including wearing items or clothing with visible political messages.”
Cody Battershill created the shirts for Canada Action, a non-profit organization that advocates for the advancement the oil and gas industry.
“You know there's a big disconnect between the security officers there and they need to get on the same page,” Battershill told CTV News.
With files from CTV News’ Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks