'Build that pipe': Protesters rally outside Sohi's speech to Edmonton chamber
'We do need the oil and gas pipelines to go through,' steamfitter says
Shouting "Pipelines now" and "Build that pipe," protesters rallied outside a downtown building Friday where federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi was speaking to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.
Organized by a group called Rally 4 Resources, the protest supported pipeline development to get Canadian energy products to markets. The group also opposes Bill C-69, which would overhaul how energy projects are approved.
Sonia Heer, a steamfitter, said pipelines moving Canadian oil to markets outside the United States are desperately needed.
"The oil and gas industry affects us all directly or indirectly," said Heer, who has worked in the oil and gas industry for 10 years. "We do need the oil and gas pipelines to go through. It would make Canada self-sufficient in terms of energy.
"Right now we only have one customer, which [is] down south. They are buying our oil and selling it back to us, refined, which makes no business sense or economic sense."
Heer said the federal government should start building pipelines after getting over existing hurdles such as negotiations with Indigenous communities along pipeline routes.
He said the long-term solution is to increase pipeline capacity to expand beyond the U.S. market.
Sohi represents the riding of Edmonton Mill Woods.