‘Outrageous:’ Alberta man told oil and gas shirt not allowed in Senate

Exec at Calgary-based oil and gas production company said shirt is from a group called Canada Action

William Lacey wears a black shirt with white text that included a heart and Maple Leaf that reads “I love Canadian oil and gas” in a recent photo taken inside the House of Commons gallery. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-William Lacey

Parliamentary security says it made a mistake telling an Alberta man he wasn’t allowed to wear a T-shirt in support of Canadian oil and gas during a visit to the Senate.

William Lacey says he was at the Senate for a tour on Monday, but was told by a security guard that he would have to remove his shirt because it could be offensive.

Lacey was wearing a black shirt with white text that included a heart and Maple Leaf to read “I love Canadian oil and gas.”

He says he chose to turn the shirt inside out to be part of the tour because his other option was to leave.

The shirt comes from a pro-oil-and-gas organization called Canada Action, which Lacey is associated with. Lacey is also chief financial officer of Steelhead Petroleum Ltd. in Calgary.

He says he has worked in the sector for more than 20 years and wore the shirt in Ottawa because he’s proud of the energy industry, but knows many people think of it negatively.

“It’s important that people should be allowed to express themselves in a positive and non-confrontational way,” he says.

Lacey doesn’t view the shirt as political or offensive, he says, and he questions what the reaction would have been to a shirt reading “I love Canadian forests.”

He didn’t run into security problems while touring the House of Commons in the same shirt, he adds, and left disappointed.

He later wrote a letter to members of Parliament, senators and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his experience.

RELATED: Western Canada oil and gas producer count down by nearly 300 names since 2014

“It’s not a private business,” he says. “This is a public institution funded by taxpayer dollars where access should be open to everyone and anyone.”

The security department responsible for Parliament apologized in an email Thursday.

“Personnel misinterpreted a message on the visitor’s article of clothing. The staff involved will be receiving operational guidance and training with respect to visitors to the Hill,” wrote Guillaume Vandal with the Parliamentary Protective Service.

Lacey says he’s happy with the outcome and appreciates his complaint was taken seriously.

The Parliament of Canada’s website says that “participating in any form of demonstration inside the buildings is prohibited, including wearing items or clothing with visible political messages.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read