TENSE MO­MENTS

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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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