‘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

Summerland begins reopening aquatic centre

First phase of reopening planned for Sept. 8

Morning Start: The Exorcist film set was haunted

Your morning start for Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

Former Summerlander receives Emmy nomination for makeup work

Lucky Bromhead recognized for her work with Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek

Morning Start: High heels were first designed for men

Your morning start for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

Local state of emergency declared at Penticton home

Slope failure cited as city issues notice at home in 600 block of Heather Road

Perseid meteor shower at peak on Aug. 11 and 12

Find place away from city lights for optimal viewing

Brain safety top of mind for North Okanagan kids

Bylaw officers noticing a number of youth out riding bikes, scooters, skateboards without helmets

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

UPDATE: House fire spreads to nearby bush in North Okanagan

Small blaze burning near Vernon in Six Mile area

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Most Read