After nearly five days of driving, a convoy of hundreds of pro-pipeline supporters has reached Ottawa for a mass protest against the Liberal government’s energy and environmental policies.
The United We Roll convoy has also become a lightning rod for anti-immigrant sentiments, forcing organizers to try to distance themselves from the so-called yellow vest movement.
After starting the journey in Red Deer, Alta., on Feb. 14, the convoy arrived in Canada’s capital just before 10 a.m. Tuesday.
The convoy rally is expected to bring parts of downtown Ottawa to a halt over the next two days. Street closures are planned around Parliament Hill to make room for about 200 or more semi-trailers, pickup trucks, cars and buses.
Lead organizer Glen Carritt, owner of an oilfield fire and safety company in Innisfail, Alta., said the group wants the Liberal government to cut the carbon tax, Bill C-69, which would overhaul how Canada does environmental assessments of energy projects and Bill C-48, which bans oil tankers from the northern coast of British Columbia.
Supporters have also raised concerns about Canada signing on to a non-binding UN compact on global migration. The 36-page document lays out a collaborative approach to dealing with growing global migration, and sets out 23 objectives for treating migrants humanely and efficiently.
…And they’re off. Next stop: Parliament Hill <a href=”https://twitter.com/CBCNews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CBCNews</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/CBCPolitics?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CBCPolitics</a> <a href=”https://t.co/8CK2gKllaS”>pic.twitter.com/8CK2gKllaS</a>
Carritt said Canada’s borders “need to be controlled” by Canada and its citizens, not the United Nations.
He had originally referred to his group as the “yellow vest convoy,” but renamed it United We Roll after it was linked to extremist elements. The yellow vest movement started in France late last year when protesters took to the streets against rising fuel prices.
Yellow vest association
Carritt said the rally in Ottawa is open to anyone angry with the Liberal government as it’s not violent.
One of the group’s other organizers, Jason Corbeil, was forced to distance the group from a Sault. Ste. Marie, Ont., yellow vest group that had boasted online to be part of the convoy. The blog of one of those organizers includes calls for specific politicians to be executed, refers to immigrants as “sub-human” and argues women don’t belong in politics.
Corbeil said the convoy does not condone hate and is about uniting people.
However, The Canadian Anti-Hate Network has been warning the convoy is giving a platform to hateful ideas.
“This convoy is a Yellow Vests Canada convoy, and any well-meaning pro-pipeline individuals involved are in fact legitimizing and breathing oxygen into the broader Yellow Vests Canada movement, which spreads hate, conspiracy theories and death threats targeting Muslims, politicians and other Canadians,” said Evan Balgord, the group’s executive director.
Counter-protesters plan to meet the convoy near Parliament Hill on Tuesday.
So far, there’s no plan for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to meet the convoy.
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.