There was plenty of anticipation Sunday as the United We Roll For Canada Convoy was heading to Sault Ste. Marie, although hours behind schedule. That’s because the movement that started on Valentine’s Day in Red Deer Alberta is seeing a lot of support of Canadians as the convoy of some 100 plus transports blaring their horns continues the 6,000 kilometer trek to Ottawa.
The convoy was originally scheduled to roll through the Sault on Saturday but those plans changed by the hour as the drivers saw huge numbers of supporters along the way. Eventually entering the city around 7:30 pm where a large local crowd treated the convoy to a free BBQ organized locally by Ryan Hill a former driller who sympathizes with the oil and gas workers in Canada.
“a lot of my close friends who i have spent my career with are now laid off because of this” Hill told Sault Online. Hill wanted to show the drivers that the Sault was behind them and sought out donations and spent his own cash to feed hundreds of people at the local rally in the former parking lot of Lowe’s on Northern Ave. No politicians were seen to welcome the convoy to the Sault.
The drivers are upset about the stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, as well as the federal bill C-69 introduced by the Trudeau government. The bill overhauls Canada’s environmental assessment laws, and C-48, which regulates oil tanker traffic on the West Coast. The drivers believe the bills will hurt Canada’s energy sector and harm the Canadian economy.
“They shut our taps off” Pat King told media Sunday night. King originates from the Sault Ste. Marie area and moved to Alberta for work. King has been part of the convoy from the start. “We want to be heard, we want the Canadian people to be heard that we are done with the false promises”
But as the protest moves closer and closer to Ottawa, the movement has been politically charged. The convoy has met up with a resistance from pro-environment and anti oil and gas movements along the way.
Though no environmentalist were seen at the rally Sunday night, their opposition to the United We Roll Convoy was heard online and on social media.
“Why no coverage of the science of the world that says that 80% of known fossil rules must stay in the ground?” wrote Kara Flannigan, a previous Green Party candidate in Sault Ste. Marie .”Surely, not providing the climate change balance accurately is a disservice to humanity. Giving equal, or in this case more coverage to a false equivalency is harmful and irresponsible.”
The theme of the protest to some has changed from oil and gas jobs to an anti-Trudeau message on immigration and its association with a new Yellow Vest Movement.
A local Yellow vest organizer was aligned with the convoy by the website, ANTIHATE.CA on Sunday. The website brought to the attention of Dave Selvers who is credited to organizing a Yellow Vest movement in the Sault and writes on a blog site . Evan Balgord from the antihate website contacted SaultOnline.com via email about Selvers and what he has posted on his blog. “Several outlets and journalists have reported on the Yellow Vests Canada Convoy, also calling itself ‘United We Roll’, without making any reference to the overt racism and death threats which have come to characterize the movement.” Evan wrote.
Selvers, who has been blogging since at least 2011, targets Muslims, Blacks, women, LGBTQ+ persons and others. He has called for Trudeau, those close to him, and Obama to be hanged says the website. Selvers also wrote about Canada’s immigration minister Ahmed Hussen an “ugly n—– , responsible for flooding Canada with useless n—– Muslim terrorists” according the web publication.
But organizers of the convoy were quick to distant themselves from Selvers, in a post on SaultOnline.com the organizers wrote : I want to put it out there, that hate groups, and rebellion groups are NOT WELCOME. This rebellion group in Sault Ste Marie led by David Selvers has absolutely nothing to do with this movement. There are some yellow vests that support and are welcome from the Sault, but there always has to be bad apple somewhere.
When asked about Trudeau Pat King commented in a media scrum ” get the hell out of my government, you work for me! and we want you fired”
The convoy moved out of Sault Ste. Marie Sunday morning and is expecting to pick up steam in Sudbury and then to Ottawa later this week. Police in Ottawa are warning drivers of delays as over 100 transport trucks and other vehicles in support head to Parliament Hill.