The temperatures were low but the picket signs were high last Friday morning alongside Hwy. 11 a few kilometres outside of Sylvan Lake as nearly 100 individuals gathered for a rally protesting the provincial government.
Event organizers, stated the ‘Stand up for Alberta. Be Seen. Be Heard’ rally was geared towards encouraging Albertans to stand up for their province while advocating against Bill 6 and the Carbon Tax in particular.
The rally was organized by three Sylvan Lake residents – Steven Ruttan, Lisa Nielsen and Sheri Hutlet with Ruttan stating he was happy with the turnout.
“We had people from Calgary, Edmonton, Drumheller, Whitecourt, Okotoks – it was more than what we expected,” said Ruttan. “People were telling us how much they appreciated us standing up and not just focusing our energies on fighting just Bill 6, but focusing it on the whole state of everything that is going on.”
Among the participants of the rally was a group known as ‘Stand Up For Alberta’ – an advocacy group who describes themselves as a ‘group of concerned citizens lobbying for the betterment of all Alberta residents’.
George Clark of Stand Up For Alberta, spoke to those in attendance stating he felt it was time for Albertans to ‘stand up’ to the government.
“It’s -15, the wind is blowing, we’re on the side of a highway intersection no less – to let this government know that we’re not stopping,” said Clark to the crowd. “She (Rachel Notley) has the majority of seats in the legislature – she thinks this gives her the right to do whatever she pleases in that house – I for one don’t think that’s right.”
Also in attendance at the rally was Don MacIntyre, Wildrose MLA Innisfail-Sylvan Lake. MacIntyre said he was pleased to see so many people at the rally considering the weather.
“It seems the message is changing from focused just on Bill 6 to now being focused on how do we get rid of this NDP government,” said MacIntyre. “We are starting to see the same people who were motivated from Bill 6 widening their scope to the whole government and we are hearing them now say they don’t like the whole government and how do we get rid of them. That is a distinct shift.
“There have been so many rallies – I’ve lived in Alberta since ‘74 and I have never seen so many constant rallies and it’s not letting up.”
Organizers said they were happy MacIntyre came to support their cause.
“It meant a lot to know that he backs us as much as he does,” said Ruttan. “He was standing there with us, not in the shadows and he talked to a lot of people at the rally – it’s nice to know there are politicians that are for us and he was one of them.”
Following Friday’s rally, Ruttan said he and fellow organizers hope to follow up on what they deemed a successful rally by hosting future rallies in the New Year.
“We’re not quitting – we want to go as big as we can,” said Ruttan. “We will continue to do what we are doing until everything we want to say has been heard. Hopefully Notley will listen to us – that’s the end goal, is to have our voices heard and have her say that she knows she’s made a mistake and asks how she can rectify it by speaking with us.
“We won’t quit until the state of this province has changed.”