‘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

96 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Alberta

Thirteen people have now died in Alberta as a result of COVID-19

Lacombe Rams football adapting to COVID-19 changes

Spring camp likely cancelled; players working on games from home

LACOMBE EXPRESS: A Message From the Publisher

In good times and bad the Lacombe Express is here to provide valuable, trustworthy information

Town of Blackfalds announces layoffs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Over 25 staff are being laid off or their contract terminated early

A message from Central Alberta Co-op

Please remember to practice social distancing at all our locations.

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

WATCH: Update from Prime Minister Trudeau

April 3 briefing from Ottawa

WATCH: Update from Prime Minister Trudeau

April 3 briefing from Ottawa

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

Parking lot closed now at J.J. Collett

Natual area remains open, but vehicles not to be left at lot or nearby

Europe’s hospitals buckle under the crush of the coronavirus

Spanish hospital turns library into makeshift intensive care unit

Most Read