‘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

New comet appears in pre-dawn sky above Cranbrook

Neowise can be seen without a telescope over the next couple of weeks

When it’s too dangerous to sing

It’s easier to imagine a world without birdsong than a world without choirs

District of Sparwood accepting submissions for Street Art Banner Program

The program aims to encourage, promote and celebrate local heritage, arts and culture

Birthday wishes come true as Kimberley girl reunited with her cat

Cat was missing for a month, reunited with owners because SPCA was able to trace microchip

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Most Read