'Build That Pipe': Protesters Rally in Support of Oil Pipelines

Pipeline projects across the U.S. and Canada have long seen widespread opposition from environmentalist and indigenous rights groups. But on Sunday, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Alberta, Canada, to support the resource industry and call for pipelines to be built.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police estimated that as many as 1,500 to 2,000 protesters were gathered in Grande Prairie's Muskoseepi Park on Sunday to voice their support for the oil and gas sector, according to Canadian broadcaster Global News.

Read more: Tribal leaders warn U.S.-Canada oil pipeline hurts orcas, fishing trade and culture

In video of the protest, many could be heard chanting "build that pipe," while others reportedly asked whether Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could "hear us now."

The event was organized by pro-oil sands groups Oilfield Dads and Rally4Resources, with both groups accusing the Canadian government of stifling the country's oil and gas industry, according to the CBC.

Alberta's oil industry has stuggled with a price differential, which the CBC reported was in part due to a lack of capacity to transport oil, putting strain on oil production hubs like Grand Prairie.

Protesters also came out to rally against Bill C-69, a measure seeking to overhaul Canada's federal environmental assessment.

Critics of the measure, which is currently making its way through the Senate, said the bill would slow down progress on key oil and gas projects and would will do little to encourage investment in the energy sector.

One organizer behind the rally told Global many work at a local oilfield company and wanted to show the Canadian government how important the oil and gas sector was to the country.

"People in Alberta feel like they haven't been heard lately, and we're frustrated," Cole Murphy said. "We just want to spread some awareness that we're good, hardworking Canadians that are just trying to provide for our families, and that's what it's all about."

Dozens of people reportedly spoke at the Sunday event, including Alberta's Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous and Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney.

We are so deeply impressed with the amazing group of organizers from Grande Prairie! Thank you for letting us be apart of it guys! Well done! Between the convoy and the rally we are guessing 3000-4000 which makes it the biggest pro Canadian oil/gas/pipeline rally yet! pic.twitter.com/6JExVLCKxK

— 🇨🇦 Rally 4 Resources 🇨🇦 (@rally4resources) December 16, 2018

Bilous emphasized that the Canadian government is "investing in the energy sector because we know the energy sector is the backbone of this province. We stand with you, proud of our energy sector."

Kenney also thanked protesters for "standing up for Canada," as well as "ordinary working women and men who, for too long, have been without a voice."