With their sights set on changing the Canadian economy, dozens of pro-oil and -gas individuals rallied in Hope on the weekend for the province’s second Convoy of Hope.
“We started the Convoy in Hope because I have hope for Canada,” explained Chris Chabros—who started the western convoy—during a telephone interview.
“It’s very symbolic for me. I couldn’t make it out for the convoy in the east, (so) I felt (this) was the least I could do—even though I knew it was probably (going to be one of) the biggest challenges of my life,” he continued.
At its heart, Chabros says the Convoy of Hope is about creating country-wide unity and coming up with an economic solution for Canada’s future that everyone can agree on.
“We say no to Bill C-69, a federal government initiative that makes it easier for dirty, unethical oil to enter Canada, while making it harder for Canadian fair trade oil to meet our energy needs,” wrote Chabros in a press release prior to the event.
With its first run on February 16, and its second on March 16, the Convoy of Hope always starts in Hope at 6th Avenue and Kawkawa Lake Road. From there it makes its way to Horseshoe Bay, and then on to Vancouver.
This month’s event “went absolutely fantastic,” said Chabros. “It went just as planned. It was an amazing sign of unity and Canadians joining together for what we’ve fought (for), and that’s a pipeline. It was really something powerful.”
Meeting at 10 a.m., and heading out at 11, the Convoy comprised locals, drivers from around the Lower Mainland, as well as drivers from Alberta who drove out for the event.
“We started out with about 27 vehicles from Hope (and) when we got into downtown (Vancouver), we were 40 vehicles strong. We had lots of support from people (in the city and) lots of support on the highway: a couple of truckers pulled into the convoy, and people driving by were giving cheers, honking horns, and giving us the thumbs up.
“When we rolled into Horseshoe Bay, about 150 people at BC Ferries were cheering for us as we went by. It really gave (me) the inspiration to keep going and plan the next (convoy),” Chabros explained.
“Our motto is: One hug, one smile, one handshake, one person at a time will come to our side. We want to hear everyone’s side, take that, and come up with a solution. And we’re getting there, one step at a time, and it’s a great feeling.”
However, just to be clear, says Chabros, coming to their side simply means accepting Canada’s past and present as a natural-resource-rich nation, and participating in the conversation to come up with economic and environmental solutions for our future everyone can get behind. And although Chabros admits the Convoy of Hope is pro-oil, and has been connected with the Yellow Vest movement in media reports, he says his group’s motivation is not exclusion, but rather inclusion.
They’re also not against clean energy, he says, they just want the government to acknowledge “we are a resource nation, and taking that away will crush us. But there’s always a solution, and we want to find a solution to everything … so we’re all working as one solid unit instead of a broken country.
“I believe in the country, in Canadians, and in unity,” continued Chabros. “Let’s build (up) our country, let’s put money back into Canadians’ pockets (because) when they have money, they can afford to go green.
With that in mind, Chabros says the Convoy of Hope’s ultimate goal is to bring every supporter from B.C. right to Parliament’s door, where the nation’s politicians will hopefully listen to what they have to say, and help find a “solution that’s amicable for everybody.
“I know I can make a change for the better for Canada, (so that’s why I’m) trying to (organize a Convoy) every month to keep the momentum going, and to keep building (our member base). Everyone’s opinion matters. Instead of adding fuel to the fire, let’s find solutions and put the fire out.”