Calgary

Convoy headed from Innisfail to Olds calls for oil and gas industry support

“We don’t want any government handouts, we don’t want any bailouts, we don’t want EI, we just want to start digging holes in the ground and putting our pipe back down."

Organizers expecting up to 200 vehicles to take part

As many as 200 vehicles are expected to take part in a convoy Saturday from Innisfail to Olds, calling on the provincial and federal governments to support the oil and gas industry. (Alex Panetta/Canadian Press)

A convoy of trucks is set to travel between Innisfail and Olds on Saturday morning to protest a perceived lack of support for the oil and gas industry by the provincial and federal governments.

The event was organized by central Alberta pipeline companies Bristow Projects and Parkland Pipeline Contractors. Their goal is to have as many as 200 vehicles join the convoy.

"We're out there to make our voices heard and tell them that our industry needs to go back to work. And we need politicians who are elected to support us, not to disparage us or minimize what we try and do and not give away our oil and gas," said Paul Hoffman, Occupational Health and Safety director of Parkland Pipeline Contractors.

"We don't want any government handouts, we don't want any bailouts, we don't want EI. We just want to start digging holes in the ground and putting our pipe back down. That's what we do, we do it very well."

Hoffman said in 2016, Parkland employees accumulated 1.2 million man-hours, which shrunk to 200,000 in 2018.

"Our project load has dropped 80 per cent in two years as a direct result of government inaction and poor, poor policies," he said.

At its peak, Parkland had up to 1,200 people working on projects, Hoffman said.

"We don't have anywhere near that many working now," he said. "We have about 450 out on projects right now."

The convoy travelling from Innisfail to Olds follows similar events that have happened across Alberta in recent weeks. Hundreds of truckers took part in this convoy near Nisku, Alta. on Dec. 19. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

The convoy is expected to leave from Innisfail at about 10:30 a.m., and will arrive in Olds by noon.

Hoffman said the vehicles will stay in the right-hand lanes and shouldn't affect other traffic.

Similar events have been happening across the province for weeks. Next month, a convoy is expected to travel from Red Deer to Ottawa to draw attention to the issue and put pressure on the federal government. 

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