Pipeline supporters huddle around an impromptu fire despite harsh weather conditions early Saturday afternoon.
Maybe it was the right day to hold a rally in support of energy and oil.
The Support Canadian Pipelines rally at the Bonnyville Rodeo Grounds saw politicians at each level, federal, provincial, and municipal, advocate for easier access to foreign markets.
A swooping wind of 30km/h and minus thirty-three-degree windchills was a minor subplot to the pipeline rally, where roughly 60 in the Lakeland area gathered.
MP Shannon Stubbs, conservative Shadow Minister for Natural Resource in the House of Commons, spoke about the “failures” of the federal government when interfering with pipeline projects like Northern Gateway, Energy East, and currently, the federally owned contract, Trans Mountain pipeline.
The themes of Bill C-69, dubbed by critics the “anti-pipeline” bill, and the “job-killing” carbon tax persisted as well.
Bonnyville is no stranger to public gatherings of this type in recent weeks.
The yellow vest protest on Dec. 22 had the town as its backdrop, where hundreds of trucks rolled through main street like the regional displays in Nisku and Grande Prairie.
But whether it gains traction and blows with the wind over to Ottawa is a whole other matter.
NDP MLA Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, Jessica Littlewood was the only politician from a non-conservative party. Alberta party leader Stephen Mendel was scheduled to speak but cancelled.
“In the fall, October, we get another chance all across Canada to send the Trudeau government because we as Albertans and Canadians cannot afford another four years of mismanagement of our industry,” MLA Lac la Biche-Two Hills-St. Paul, David Hanson.
Hanson and Cyr both mentioned their prior experience in the oil and gas sector.
“It is time for us to stand up. It is time for us to show support for oil and gas,” said MLA Bonnyville-Cold Lake Scott Cyr.
“This isn’t just about UCP, it is about all parts of government standing together, sending a message to Ottawa that this is not just an Alberta problem, this is a Canada-wide problem,” said Cyr.
“We just need to come together and make sure our voices are really loud and proud on this issue, and make sure the federal government knows that there is not a single hospital, road, or school built anywhere in this country that does not owe something to our oil sands,” NDP MLA Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, Jessica Littlewood.
“If we can get these pipelines built, this area is going to explode once again,” said M.D. Reeve Greg Sawchuk.
“Oil works seamlessly with the environment. When you fly over the area, there’s a very small footprint that oil actually takes up. We haven’t got that story out,” said Sawchuk.
“If you remember our communities in about 2012, 2013, here we are, minus 30 conditions, who’d of thought that we’d be here when things were off the charts in our communities back then,” said Mayor of Cold Lake, Craig Copeland. “The last six years – it’s been a shame that we’re here.”
“We need to build this bloody pipeline,” said Mayor Sobolewski.