'We need pipelines in the ground': Convoy of Alberta truckers join pro-pipeline rally
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2018 4:10PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 19, 2018 10:39PM EST
A pro-pipeline convoy with thousands of truckers blared their way through an Alberta town Wednesday with a message for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “We don’t need handouts.”
Two days after Trudeau announced a boost of $1.6 billion for the province’s struggling energy sector, oil and gas workers asked for action on the halted Trans Mountain pipeline -- not loans.
“That’s posturing by our federal government,” said Murray Schur, founder and president of Schur Trucking Ltd., which transports drilling rigs. “Simply, what we need is pipelines in the ground to move the oil.”
The Liberal’s $4.5 billion purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline was announced this year, but hit a major snag when the Federal Court of Appeal decided there had not been enough consultation with Indigenous and environmental groups. Alberta is making less per barrel of oil because of a dearth of pipelines that would allow the province to sell higher priced product to overseas markets. Alberta estimates that it is losing $80 million per day.
“They need to be able to restore investment back into Canada, because it’s the investors that aren’t willing to put their dollars into Canada and they’re going elsewhere,” said Schur. His trucks were in the rally to “demonstrate the sense of urgency” to Trudeau, whose $1.6 billion in loans is “not enough,” he said. Schur has been in the business for 25 years and told CTV News Channel on Wednesday that the current crisis is the worst he’s ever seen in the industry.
“And there’s no end in sight,” he said, adding there are “simply not enough” oil rigs operating in Canada anymore. “Oil companies are shutting down their fields because they’ve got no room to move the oil, which … puts thousands of people out of work.”
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer joined the chorus of truck horns Wednesday for a town hall meeting in the town and criticized Trudeau’s announcement of the assistance package.
“In typical Alberta fashion, the message sent back to Ottawa loud and clear: We don’t need handouts, we just want to get back to work,” he said to applause. “Give a province $1.6 billion you might feed them for a couple of weeks, but let them build a pipeline to get our energy to market and you can feed them for a generation.”
Scheer encouraged the town hall audience, noting that they have “had slumps before,” and characterized Trudeau’s government as having “pulled the rug out from under” Albertans.
“There are politicians across the country that don’t believe in our energy sector, that don’t want to see it developed or expanded,” he said. “But conservatives are joining common cause with those across the country that do want to support this sector.”