Despite the frigid temperatures, more than a hundred people gathered in front of the Saskatchewan legislature on Tuesday morning for a rally in support of the country’s resource industries.
The demonstration was organized by the advocacy group Canada Action in partnership with the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce.
While also intended to show support for industries like mining and agriculture, much of the focus was on pipelines and issues like the federal carbon tax and Bill C-69, which among many other things, would expand the scope of impact assessments for major infrastructure projects.
“Pretty good turnout. I think it’s an indicator as to the passion that these folks have for their industry and their jobs that feed their family and feed families across the nation,” said Premier Scott Moe, who attended the rally.
“This is an industry that creates wealth for all Saskatchewan people and all Canadians, and an industry we need to support because there are some headwinds,” he said.
The Premier reiterated his pledge to fight the federal carbon tax. When asked how far he’d go, he used former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s famous line, “Just watch me.”
Moe was one of a handful of speakers that addressed the crowd, along with Conservative Senator Denise Batters, oil industry advocate Bernard Hancock and representatives from the Building Trades Union and the United Steelworkers Union.
“Resources are the foundation of Canada’s national prosperity,” said Cody Battershill, founder of Canada Action.
During the gathering, a lone counter-protester shouted throughout the speeches. Moe said she’s from a First Nation in Saskatchewan, but he didn’t specify which one.
The rally drew people from both sides of the political spectrum, with NDP leader Ryan Meili appearing at the invitation of the United Steelworkers.
“We support getting Saskatchewan resources to market, and absolutely getting them by rail and by pipe is how you do that,” Meili said.
When asked about his stance on the carbon tax, the NDP leader acknowledged the public’s opposition to it.
He questioned what the government’s backup plan is, should the province lose its court challenge.