Premier Scott Moe is one of many people throwing his support behind a convoy and rally against the carbon tax set for Regina next week.
Organizers say people from all around the province have committed to the event. They also say one politically-charged type of clothing is not welcome: yellow vests.
The Regina Rally Against the Carbon Tax will take place at Queensbury Convention Centre on Thursday at 2 p.m. CST.
Jason LeBlanc, a farmer in the Estevan area and one of the rally organizers, said the event aims to educate on four issues: carbon tax impact, pipelines, Bill C-48 and Bill C-69.
LeBlanc voiced his displeasure those policies with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally on Jan. 10 when he asked him a question at his Regina town hall.
He said he was not satisfied with the Trudeau’s answer, calling it “staged.”
“He turned my words and that’s not what I asked,” LeBlanc said.
He said the idea for the Regina rally started with a small group of farmers and oil industry people. He said they have received support and commitments to attend the rally from all around the province.
“I can tell you we’re on the right track because it’s overwhelming the amount of people that have reached out and supported.”
One of those supporters is the premier. On Thursday, Scott Moe posted a video on social media thanking the organizers and saying he would be at the event.
“I hope you’re ready to make some noise and I hope you’re ready to send a message loud and clear to the federal government,” Moe said in the video.
On Thursday afternoon, Moe said the rally gives the province the opportunity to tell its story again and share it’s opposition to a variety of federal government initiatives.
“We continue at the moment in this nation to be having the wrong conversation about how to tax our residents and tax our industries as opposed to actually making a difference when it comes to reducing our emissions and sequestering carbon.”
Moe previously spoke at a rally outside the legislature organized by Canada Action, a pro-pipelines group. He was joined by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer at a pro-pipeline rally in Moosomin in February.
A few days later Scheer spoke at the United We Roll convoy and rally which descended on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
The organizer originally referred to his group as the “yellow vest convoy” but renamed it United We Roll after it was linked to extremist elements within the yellow vest movement.
Asked about the decision to prohibit yellow vesters from the upcoming rally, LeBlanc said the yellow vest movement “represents far too many things.”
“I don’t think that the people that wear the yellow vests are bad people at all,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc attended the United We Roll rally in Ottawa.
“I never wore a yellow vest in my life and I agree with some other points but definitely not all of the points,” he said.
“It’s gotten self-destructive.”
NDP quizzes Moe on yellow vests
NDP Leader Ryan Meili has spent a few days in question period this spring quizzing Moe about his thoughts on the yellow vest movement.
Earlier this year, the Minister of Rural and Remote Health Greg Ottenbreit attended a yellow vest rally in his constituency in Yorkton. Minister of Highways Lori Carr attended a similar rally in her constituency of Estevan.
The movement has been criticized for views shared on immigration both at rallies and online.
“I’m actually really pleased to hear that the organizers of [the upcoming] rally say we don’t want the yellow vests around,” Meili said.
Meili said he keeps asking Moe about the movement and if he supports it because of what his answer signals to new Canadians and people who hold anti-immigrant or hateful views.
“Many people have come from other countries are watching to see a signal from their premier that they’re fully respected and welcome here. And there is also people who hold those awful views that hold negative views that are watching to see if the Premier is distancing himself from them or if he’s leaving space and in some ways encouraging that view.”
Moe has said he doesn’t want to paint all yellow vest protesters “with the same brush.”
“We’re against individuals and we condemn any individuals as we always say that have any racist thoughts actions or words. There is no place for that in our society. There’s no place for that in our province. There is no place for that in our nation or our world,” Moe said Thursday.
“In saying that there are people that are at these rallies that are very concerned with the direction of policy the policy direction of our federal government when it comes to our western Canadian industries.”
As for hate speech that can be found on various yellow vest pages, Moe said he has not looked at any yellow vest pages.
“I’m not interested in looking at comments like that, I’m actually quite not interested in looking at the yellow vest Facebook page.”
Meili said he thinks Moe should know.
“It’s nonsense to think that he wouldn’t be familiar, that he wouldn’t have been briefed. If he doesn’t know what’s on there it’s because he doesn’t want to know,” Meili said.
Meili said he may attend the Regina Rally Against the Carbon Tax.
“I’m going to learn a little bit more about it. But if there is an opportunity to stand up with workers in our energy industry and stand up for keeping life affordable in Saskatchewan I’m going to do exactly that.”