A collective of Calgary oil drillers has launched a campaign demanding more respect for the beleaguered industry called Oil Respect.

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors says the awareness campaign is needed because the downturn has hit its members hard.

President Mark Scholz wants the provincial and federal governments to step up efforts to support the industry.

"It needs to be louder. It needs to be tied to actual action," said Scholz. 

He says political rhetoric should defend its environmental standards and help promote pipeline construction, and that past speeches have not included how Alberta's oil industry will be given more market access.

"For them to say we get it. We respect this industry. We're the best in the world and we're going to get you market access."

The campaign will have a presence on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The group plans to hold several town halls across the country this year.

Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt says the Alberta and federal governments have voiced support for the industry — but are also following the rules when it comes to pipelines.  

"The reason that the [federal] Liberals refuse to talk about Energy East is they don't want to be seen as politically interfering in a regulatory process."

Scholz's group is petitioning governments to support pipelines — and is asking for Feb. 13, 2017, to officially become Oil and Gas Awareness Day as a way to show support.