“So build that pipeline, build that pipeline, Alberta’s lifeline.
“Build that pipeline, just build that pipeline, and bring us back to prosperity.”
So goes the chorus to a song by the Spitzee Post Band, a High River, Alta. bluegrass band that recorded the song and video on Jan. 4, and by Jan. 7, had it on YouTube and various music providers.
“Enough is enough,” said Joe Gore, who is the lead singer and plays mandolin with the band, when asked on Jan. 7 why they recorded the song. “We put it out there so we could get some support. We want to support the pipeline.”
“The province is having such a hard time. That was our whole reason of doing it. We weren’t looking to make a tonne of money doing it. We were looking to support the proud Albertans that we are.”
“As far as we’re concerned, all of the oil and gas industry, it completely supports. We know our brothers in Saskatchewan are having just as hard of a time with oil and gas as we are,” Gore said.
“I worked from Hibernia to Suncor and Syncrude,” he said, specializing in installing wellhead insulator blankets.
The video starts with numerous video clips from newscasts about pipelines, before breaking into some guitar, banjo and mandolin picking.
The band also includes Wayne Corner on steel guitar, Gary Kurtz on fiddle, Coralee Gore on bass and Gerry Madigan on banjo.
The song says, “We’ve encountered the objectors and we’ve heard those loud protestors. But what about our starving families?
“At this rate it won’t be long before our jobs they are all gone Alberta has been brought down to her knees.”
Madigan wrote the lyrics. He said on Jan. 7, “I’ve got a personal interest in it. My son is in the oil and gas industry. He’s a rig welder. My son-in-law is a production accountant in oil and gas. They’ve both suffered in recent years. Contracts were cancelled all over the place. Then they start again. Both of them have children, families to rear. It’s been really difficult.
“We hear people protesting about the pipelines and all. I think there’s a touch of surrealism about this. First of all, there’s a bit of hypocrisy. You see some provinces are trying to block the pipelines and curbing our ability to maximize the resources with our exports. But at the same time, they will take the equalization payments, with no qualms, whatsoever. To me, that’s a double standard,” Madigan said.
“These are the things that motivate me. I see all these things happening, and I think, the first thing we need to fix is putting bread on the table.
“You need to fix your economy. You need to fix your basic, fundamental survival, if you like. Your basic needs. If you don’t have your basic needs, you can’t feed your family. It doesn’t matter. Nothing else matters. You’re going to starve and you’re going to die.
“We’ve got housing being repossessed and foreclosed. We’ve got cars being repossessed. This Christmas, there were some horror stories about some families who couldn’t afford presents for their kids.
“When they’re deprived of an income, and they’re willing to work, and want to work, and we’ve got natural resources that can provide that work for the people, and if we have a pipeline that can provide exports, we can rebuild the economy. But if the economy fails, we all know what it was like.
“There are people who lived through the ‘80s when the economy was bad. I was living in Ireland, where we had a fierce recession in the ‘80s, and houses were being foreclosed, thousands and thousands a month. That’s incredible, when you think about it. But that’s the reality when a recession hits deeply and bites deeply.”
Madigan went on, “Unless we do something to stop the economic downturn at the moment in Alberta, it’s going to eventually affect all of Canada. Because it has a huge impact. It’s fundamental to the Canadian economy and the economy here in Alberta.”
Asked about Saskatchewan, which didn’t earn a mention in the song, he said. “We’ve got loads of other songs in the pipeline, ready to write.”
The next one is called Kill the Bill, about Bill C-69.