About 200 people gathered in front of Saskatchewan’s Legislative Building on Tuesday to express their support for pipelines.A bipartisan affair that saw attendees from the Saskatchewan Party government and opposition NDP, chants of “Build that pipeline” rang out throughout the protest crowd.An Indigenous protester disrupted the speeches several times, which led to a handful of tense moments between her and protesters throughout the lunch-hour event.Pamela Blondeau said she is a Regina resident from the Pasqua and Muskowekwan First Nations.She said she was there to support people fighting against pipelines.“Canadians are pushing for oil and gas on our territories, nobody has any business on our territories. We’re not going into your houses and pushing things on you guys and dragging you guys out of your places and forcing smudge on, you know, the Canadians,” she said. “It’s horrible what is going on. Honestly, I want to cry right now I can’t believe that they’re all here doing this.”More than once, Blondeau approached the politicians during speeches or roamed the crowd, yelling phrases like, “No pipelines” and “No oil and gas.”Bernard Hancock (known as “Bernard the Roughneck” for his pro-pipeline activism) was one of the people interrupted by Blondeau.“This is the face of the people who are against our oil and gas industry. I want you to see that because I want people at home to see how ridiculous those people are,” he said to a chorus of boos from the mostly white, male crowd.Shortly after, Blondeau was in the crowd protesting again when Shawn Fay, a protester, said, “Why don’t you shut the f--k up?”NDP MLA Trent Wotherspoon, who had been standing with the politicians near the speakers, intervened, telling Fay and another man, “One person is allowed to share their view. I’m here to support the pipeline” and to “stay focused.”Blondeau continued, telling the crowd they were “disgusting cowards.”Afterward, Fay said he was “sick of this whole debate about the carbon tax and the ridiculous deals going on with the pipelines.“It just doesn’t make any logical sense, we get no respect in Western Canada from our federal government and it’s got to change,” he said.Asked about his engagement with Blondeau, Fay said she “absolutely has the right to speak her mind, just not stand up there and interrupt what we’re trying to do here.”Premier Scott Moe was one of those who addressed the crowd, telling them the Saskatchewan and Alberta economies employ families across the nation and power the Canadian economy.“We hear you, the government of Saskatchewan hears you, and we will advocate on your behalf every step of the way so that very soon everyone in this nation is going to hear you,” he said.At the tail end of 2018, Moe said he did not visit a long-standing protest of Saskatchewan’s child welfare and justice system outside the Legislative Building in part because “I haven’t, in fairness, really conversed with anyone directly that is running a protest or a camp in front of the legislature.”On Monday, he said he would be part of the pro-pipeline event because it was a “legal protest.”The protest was organized in part by Canada Action. Ryan Whippler from the Provincial Capital Commission (PCC), tasked with granting permits for protests at the Legislative Building, said Canada Action provided information about the protest.“We gave them a permission letter. Their planned activities are in accordance with PCC bylaws. PCC provides permission based on logistics (whether another group is already scheduled to use a particular area, etc.) and bylaws (whether the planned activities violate any of the PCC bylaws),” he said.He refused to provide a copy of the permission letter, saying it was not the PCC’S practice to do so.Canada Action founder Cody Battershill said before the protest he didn’t want the issues his group focuses on — resource development, the carbon tax, pipeline politics — to get “distracted or confused by some protest movement from France.”To that end, he told those supporting the yellow vest movement in Saskatchewan to leave their signature clothing at home. No yellow vests were seen at the protest.
Close to 200 people show their support for the oil industry and pipeline projects during a rally organized in part by Canada Action on Tuesday in front of the Legislative Building. The event also attracted members of the Saskatchewan Party and opposition NDP.
A protester interrupts Premier Scott Moe as he speaks during the rally.
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