Estevan MLA Lori Carr, who is also the provincial minister for Highways and Infrastructure, is defending her decision to be at a Yellow Vest Movement protest last Saturday in front of City Hall.
The protests have been happening at City Hall every Saturday since Dec. 15 of last year. Carr attended a protest for the first time last week, and it was on her own accord.
A photograph and a brief article were posted to www.estevanmercury.ca Saturday of Carr with two protesters, but it took until Thursday for the article to gain the attention of the opposition New Democratic Party. It was retweeted by Regina Douglas Park MLA Nicole Sarauer.
Sarauer also retweeted out a photo of Yorkton MLA Greg Ottenbreit at a Yorkton protest.
Carr said she was doing her job by engaging with people and their concerns at the protest. She pointed out the protests have been resonating with people who live in the Estevan constituency.
“There has been a rising sentiment of frustration and disappointment right across Western Canada relating to the harmful policies of the federal government, and that sentiment has been qualified by recent polling that’s been conducted by Angus-Reid and widely reported by the media,” Carr told the Mercury.
She said the polling suggests the majority of Canadians agree that a lack of pipeline capacity is a national crisis, and that Western Canadians feel like they’re giving far more to confederation than they receive.
The Yellow Vest Movement in Western Canada has been particularly vocal about the proposed federal carbon tax, which Carr said would kill jobs, the lack of pipelines to get Western Canadian oil to market, and the Bill C-69 legislation that she believes would make future infrastructure projects like pipelines impossible to approve.
Carr pointed out that NDP Leader Ryan Meili has voiced support for a carbon tax in the past.
“That’s in direct contrast to what our government and our MLAs and thousands of Canadians are doing who are attending rallies like this to advocate for the end of these harmful policies, to support the Canadian energy industry and its workers and their families,” said Carr.
As for the opposition to illegal immigration and the United Nations’ Migration Pact expressed by some in the Yellow Vest Movement, Carr said those have been more contentious issues. But she also said that she, and the governing Saskatchewan Party, do not support any anti-immigration positions that some in the Yellow Vests movement have been putting forward.
“When you get a group this big, there’s not always consistent messaging, but around the pipelines and around the carbon tax, it’s a very clear message,” she said.
Carr isn’t the first local politician to attend a Yellow Vest protest. Souris-Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen attended a rally in front of city hall two weeks earlier, and was also part of the truck convoy that rolled through Estevan on Dec. 22.
Next week’s edition of the Mercury will have more on this story.