One year ago, almost to the day, I stood outside in frigid temperatures as the United We Roll convoy left Red Deer for Ottawa to deliver its message in support of the oil and gas industry on Parliament Hill.
Today there are people across this country who are illegally protesting or hired to protest for a few members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation AGAINST the oil and gas industry.
Now, in my fourteen years as an MP I have seen many rallies on Parliament Hill. First Nations, Falun Dafa, union workers and the like have all had their opportunity to have their voices heard. They’ve all been respected and allowed to gather on the sidewalk and steps in front of the Peace Tower, at all seasons of the year.
Whether you agree with United We Roll or not, it is irrefutable that this convoy arrived in Ottawa and delivered their message peacefully and with very little disruption. They obtained permits, they arrived when they said, did what they said, and they left when they said.
Today illegal protests spring up around the country affecting critical infrastructure, blocking roadways and railways. There are no permits and no permissions granted.
One year ago I stood in dress shoes in two feet of snow to welcome United We Roll and address the crowd. We stood in snow together because someone ordered the police service on the Hill to move people off the wide sidewalk into the snow – far from where their permit allowed. I’ve never seen any other group treated this way before. The dry cleared sidewalk and steps were there, but the legal peaceful rally of oil and gas workers couldn’t set foot there.
Today you would be hard pressed to find anyone ordering the police to move illegal protesters. In fact the Prime Minister has stated he will not do so.
United We Roll didn’t get the courtesy of a single Liberal MP showing their face but anti-oil protesters get the respect of peaceful dialogue and a Minister of the Crown attending the illegal rally.
This very obvious double standard is why Canada is so divided.