Anti-oil activists took aim at Brad Wall’s environmental policies during the premier’s latest stop in Saskatoon.
Wall was in the city Monday night for his annual Premier’s Reception at Prairieland Park. Around 50 protestors waited outside the entrance gates, at times chanting “no more oil.”
“We can continue taking oil and coal out of the ground from the mines and reserves we’re already using – but we can’t afford to expand that more,” said Mark Bigland-Pritchard, with Climate Justice Saskatoon.
“We can’t afford any more oil pipelines.”
Bigland-Pritchard helped organize the gathering, which was the local effort in a cross-country vigil opposing the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.
The group was situated outside the gates to Prairieland Park and were twice told to move further back by officials.
— JT Marshall (@jtmarshallCKOM) November 22, 2016
They specifically chose the Premier’s Reception to showcase displeasure over Wall’s White Paper on climate change, released Oct. 18.
“He came out with a 50-page list of excuses about a month ago, which he calls his climate policy,” Bigland-Pritchard said.
Gail Stevens is also concerned the premier isn’t taking climate action seriously. She became emotional when asked why she came out Monday night.
“I want to leave (my grandkids) a world that’s healthy – healthy water, healthy air, healthy land,” she said.
“We have to stop these pipelines and have good, healthy, jobs for the people working in those industries.”
Stevens sees potential for environmental change in government incentives for employees transitioning to cleaner industries.
“We care about those employees too. They aren’t the problem; the problem is the sector itself is involved in destructive activity.”
The Government of Saskatchewan sent a statement regarding the protest Tuesday afternoon.
“Those who say no to oil are saying no to modern transportation and about 6,000 goods made with oil, including their smart phones. Those who say no to new pipelines are saying no to hope, opportunity, quality of life and strong public services for millions of Canadians. The energy sector in Canada employs thousands of people and generates billions of dollars in revenues for governments – $17 billion on average over the last few years. That’s enough revenue to pay for 680 new schools, 1.8 million knee replacements and 4.25 million child care spaces.”
Meanwhile, members of the group said they were pleased with the federal government’s announcement on coal Monday.
The Liberals said they want to see a 90 per cent reduction in coal use by 2030.
– With files from JT Marshall.