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Jason Kenney was spotted on-field wearing an “I ?? OIL & GAS” sweater at the 107th Grey Cup last night, with most of the Calgary crowd in attendance greeting the premier to loud cheers.
Kenney, the leader of the United Conservatives that won the province from the Notley-led New Democrats, has been a vocal supporter of the province’s natural resource industry.
Though not all were pleased with the gesture, as some saw the sweater as a way to divide Canadians during a time in Canada’s culture intended to unite Canadians from all walks of life.
The sweater has been the centre of controversy for months now.
Two months ago, visitors at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa a security guard stopped them from entering a tour because they were wearing pro-oil and pro-gas shirts.
Chris Wollen, of Calgary, said he and his fiance were wearing “I (LOVE) (CANADIAN) OIL AND GAS” shirts when a security official told them that the shirts would prohibit them from entering the tour.
“The security officer mentioned that if we were to come back with our ‘I love Canadian oil and gas’ shirts on, that we wouldn’t be allowed to do the tour because you’re not allowed to wear any shirts that are too political,” Wollin told CTV News Calgary.
According to the Parliament of Canada’s website, “participating in any form of demonstration inside the buildings is prohibited, including wearing items or clothing with visible political messages.”
But the sweater hasn’t always been as controversial as it is now.
In 2016, former premier Rachel Notley wore a hoodie by the same pro-oil group, Oil Sands Action.
According to Oil Sands Action’s website, the group is “an entirely volunteer created grassroots movement encouraging Canadians to take action and work together in support of our vital natural resources sector.”
“We’re strong supporters of Canada’s oil sands and the resource sector generally because we know how important these industries are to Canada’s present and future prosperity,” the site reads.