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Two-and-half months after Alberta petroleum executive William Lacey was asked by security at the Senate of Canada to remove his “I love Canadian oil & gas” t-shirt, allegedly deemed too political by authorities, the supposed policy surrounding the brouhaha appears non-existent.
While Lacey received an apology Sept. 5 from Parliamentary Protective Services the same day Senator Denise Batters raised the matter at Senate committee, none has been forthcoming for an Alberta couple involved in a similar run-in with security for the same t-shirt transgression.
Batters told The Post Millennial that she has yet to receive a response from either speakers’ offices–Senate or House of Commons–who are responsible for security at all parliament buildings in Ottawa.
“Where is the policy about this particular issue? I’ve asked for a copy of the particular policy, when it came into effect and who instructed it be put it into place,” said Batters.
“And I still have not received any of those answers.”
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.”
How security is to apply this prohibition, however, appears to remain ad hoc in nature.
Queries by TPM to the Office of the Speaker of the House, about how “I love Canadian oil & gas” t-shirts became a political lightening-rod to be banned on Parliament Hill, were forwarded to the Senate speaker and parliament security.
As of publication, TPM has only received a response from Parliamentary Protective Services that offers no information on any guidelines, except that there was a misunderstanding and these are under review.
“Following those two incidents, we have initiated a review of procedures and provided guidelines to our operational staff (and) are working to ensure that these guidelines are communicated and understood by all front-line personnel,” writes PPS chief of staff Guillaume Vandal.
“Our goal is to avoid such incidents from reoccurring.”
For Batters, a Conservative senator representing Saskatchewan, the t-shirts are not political.
“It’s a pro-jobs message, she said. “That’s why I have such a problem with westerners being turned away from these buildings in the heart of our democracy for simply and positively supporting the energy industry. It’s the lifeblood of not only our region, but the entire country.”
More than 120,000 energy sector jobs have bled out of the Albertan and Saskatchewan economies over the past five years while at the end of October, iconic Canadian petroleum giant EnCana announced it was rebranding itself and moving its HQ from Calgary to Denver.
The consensus among energy sector players, watchers and supportive politicos is that the Liberal government’s overhaul of environmental legislation (Bill C-69, and the northwest coast oil tanker ban in British Columbia (Bill C-48) has created significant investor uncertainty in Canada.