The Current

As pro-pipeline convoy reaches Ottawa, leader says protest was years in the making

A couple hundred vehicles have converged on Ottawa, carrying angry westerners demanding the government scrap the carbon tax and measures that they say will introduce oppressive regulation on the energy sector. We speak to one of the organizers about the protesters' message, and accusations that the movement has been hijacked by extremist, anti-immigrant elements.

'They're just not listening to us,' Glen Carritt says of federal government

The sun rises on members of the United We Roll convoy in Arnprior, Ont., just west of Ottawa, on Tuesday. (David Richard/CBC)

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As a convoy of pro-pipeline protesters arrives in Ottawa, its organizer says the reason for their protest "didn't just happen overnight."

"This has been going on for four years, with the complete disconnect of what's going on with Mr. Trudeau," said Glen Carritt, lead organizer of the protests and owner of an oilfield fire and safety company in Innisfail, Alta.

"We've been having rallies out in Alberta for four months, and they're just not listening to us over here," he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

The United We Roll convoy started its journey in Red Deer, Alta., five days ago with stops and rallies along the route. It arrived in Ottawa on Tuesday morning, and was expected to hold a rally on Parliament Hill.

Carritt said protesters want the Liberal government to scrap the carbon tax, as well as Bill C-69, which would overhaul how Canada does environmental assessments of energy projects, and Bill C-48, which bans oil tankers from loading or unloading at ports on the northern coast of B.C.

Participants of the convoy have also raised concerns about Canada signing on to a non-binding UN compact on global migration.

Carritt originally referred to his group as the "yellow vest convoy," but renamed it after criticism of extremist elements that support anti-immigrant rhetoric.

He told Tremonti that as long as would-be protesters were non-violent, peaceful, and respectful, they were welcome to join the convoy and "have our voices heard on Parliament Hill."

This pro-pipeline truck driver just started a four day journey to Ottawa to protest its handling of the oil downturn. He is joining the around 160 others in the convoy. 1:39

Carritt said he organized the convoy to show the government that the country is united and supported the group's cause.

"You couldn't believe the support that we got, all the way. Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, B.C. We've got trucks coming out from the east," he said.

"This is a united country."

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

Produced by Ines Colabrese, Sarah-Joyce Battersby and Imogen Birchard.


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