On January 12, a convoy consisting of 134 large trucks, pickups, business and private vehicles set out from Grimshaw Industrial Park for Peace River, in a show of support for Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
The convoy was also a show of strength against the harmful tactics of an intransigent environmental movement determined to undermine this province’s principal industry.
Some people online expressed the cynical view that the convoy was preaching to the converted but those people are completely missing the point.
The Grimshaw to Peace River convoy was not a platform to preach to the converted or anyone else. More importantly, it demonstrated a powerful show of solidarity and increasing momentum to fight for the jobs, quality of life and economic prosperity of the province and the region.
The convoy, which stretched eleven-kilometers long, also serves as a potent symbol for all those who rely directly and indirectly on the oil and gas industry. It also demonstrated that people in the region are not complacent and that a united front is necessary to achieve the goal of getting Alberta’s oil to market for a fair price.
What is also telling is that this local initiative, organized by Bob Blayone, Frank Light, Samuel Elkins and Mike Ramsey, had no affiliation or support from any outside organizations. However, the convoy drew participants from Grande Prairie, Manning and Rainbow Lake and garnered a larger turnout than urban centers such as Red Deer, demonstrating how important this issue is to people here in the Peace River Region.
The rally kicked off with speeches from Minister of Energy and MLA for Dunvegan-Central Notley, Marg McCuaig-Boyd; Federal Conservative Party MP for Peace River –Westlock, Arnold Viersen, Peace River New Democrat MLA Debbie Jabbour and UCP candidate Dan Williams.
Although some of the speakers were of opposing political stripes, Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd pointed out in her speech that the rally was not about politics but about supporting Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
Along with those who participated there were throngs of people standing at intervals along the highway, who had come out to offer their support.
“I was very, very happy with the turnout and the support from the community, very humbling to see everyone who turned out and everyone who supported it,” says organizer Mike Ramsey. “It was great to see such a turnout that was much larger than I anticipated.”
The organizers are not opposed to holding another event, possibly between Grande Prairie and Peace River, but this is only at the idea stage at present as they are waiting to see what transpires with the proposed Alberta to Ottawa Convoy, tentatively slated for sometime in the spring.