Protests inside and outside in raucous first day of Global Petroleum Show
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Protests inside and outside in raucous first day of Global Petroleum Show

Last Updated Jun 11, 2019 at 8:19 pm MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — The Global Petroleum Show kicked off in Calgary on Tuesday in exciting fashion.

With representatives of the oil and gas industry from around the world coming into the city, Premier Jason Kenney helped get it all started.

But even before Kenney took the stage, a protestor stormed it.

“Before we have a chance to hear from the premier, I just want to say he does not represent me,” said the man as he stepped up to the podium. “I love this province, I do not want this province to be polluted.”

Security guards and police officers quickly wrestled him to the ground, but the man continued shouting and he could be heard screaming backstage after he was dragged away.

Eventually, Kenney did step up and made reference to the incident.

“Well folks, there are very few energy producers around the world where you would see something like that happen. This is a free liberal democracy with freedom of speech, and we embrace that,” said Kenney, before announcing the percentage of votes he received in the April 16th provincial election.

Kenney told the crowd they will help shape the future of the energy industry.

“And it will be a strong future. Because the world needs energy.”

The premier also spoke to reporters following his speech, reiterating his government’s fight to get projects like the Trans Mountain expansion built and push back against Bills C-48 and C-69.

“C-48 is a prejudicial attack on one province and one product,” Kenney said. “And C-69 is a full-frontal assault on the resource industries that have really been central to Canada’s prosperity.”

He also provided some details on oil curtailment, as Kenney said the program will likely have to last into 2020 and “confidential discussions” are underway on the subject of crude by rail shipments.

Kenney then had to jet off, literally, as he embarks on a trip eastward to visit the premiers of Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

“To tell them how Alberta is open for business, how with our job creation tax cut, our red tape reduction initiative and other pro-jobs policies, that this is the best place in North America in which to invest.”

After a short break, the protests continued outside — but on the opposite end of the spectrum as the first disruptor.

WATCH: Thousands gather for pro-oil rally.

Advertised as the largest oil and gas rally in Canadian history, thousands of people packed into Stampede Park outside the Big Four building to show their support for oil and gas.

It was estimated about four thousand people came to the rally, cheering and carrying signs to express their anger under the hot sun, saying the world needs more Canadian energy and the previously mentioned bills need to be scrapped.

It was also a politically charged rally, featuring representatives from across the country — including an MP from Quebec City, and members of provincial legislatures in British Columbia and Ontario.

Locally, Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage spoke as well.

“While there is a real feeling of renewed hope and optimism, we have lots more work to build pipelines,” said Savage. “We will refuse to preside over the economic decline of Alberta, and we will take every possible step to show Canada and the world that we are open to business.”

Savage drew loud cheers as she vowed to do everything possible to stop Bills C-48 and C-69, and stressed the importance of the Trans Mountain project being approved once Natural Resources Canada presents their report to the federal cabinet on June 18th.

“We have told Ottawa over and over and over again, that we need a yes. We cannot have a delay, not a delay of one month, one week, not even one day. We need a yes on June 18th.”

They also booed when Savage listed energy sector grievances — including the failures of the Northern Gateway and Energy East pipelines.

Another highlight of the speeches was Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who said his province stands hand in hand with Alberta as they also continue their own court battles against the federally-imposed carbon tax.

Moe called for a national conversation around the bills, because he said they affect the entire economy of Canada.

“Premier Kenney, myself and four others recently signed a letter and sent it to the Prime Minister. We represent six jurisdictions here in the nation, 59 per cent of the population in Canada, 62 per cent of the GDP. And we represent them in our opposition to Bill C-69 in its current form. We’ve asked them if they are going to move forward with 69, move forward with all of the 180 plus amendments. And C-48, take the Senate committee’s recommendation and scrap that bill, and let’s move forward on an adult conversation around developing some of the most sustainable energy products in the world,” Moe told reporters after the rally wrapped up.

These rallies have taken quite a hold around Calgary, the province and the country in recent months, and organizers think it’s working.

“I think people are listening. Polling shows a majority of Canadians support Trans Mountain. A majority of Canadians think we have a pipeline crisis,” said Cody Battershill of Canada Action. “I think that as we continue to get the truth out, the balanced message out, that oil demand is growing and Canada is the leader of protecting people and the planet. We are the only place on earth not building pipelines. Our industry is under attack.”

“What you’re seeing today is the coming together of people from across the nation, in the belief of our nation,” agreed Premier Moe. “We have a great story to tell, and we ought to be telling it rather than trying to tax our families into the unemployment lines.”

Back to Savage, the Energy Minister added the new provincial government has a simple mission in mind.

“That’s fighting for the Alberta energy sector, fighting for jobs and fighting for our future.”

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