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

CALGARY — An Alberta man wants answers as to why he wasn’t allowed to wear a T-shirt in support of Canadian oil and gas during a visit to the Senate on Parliament Hill.

Conservative Sen. David Tkachuk from Saskatchewan says he has received a copy of a letter written by William Lacey and addressed to other senators, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Lacey says he was visiting the Senate on Monday, but was told by a security guard he would have to remove his T-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.”

The shirt comes from a pro-oil-and-gas organization called Canada Action.

Lacey, who is associated with Canada Action and is chief financial officer of Steelhead Petroleum Ltd. in Calgary, 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.

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

“Just as a western Canadian, I just find that outrageous,” Denise Batters, a Conservative senator from Saskatchewan, said during a committee hearing on Thursday.

“As a Canadian, I find it outrageous,” Tkachuk added.

Lacey said he also wore the shirt inside the House of Commons and had no issues from security there.

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.”

Senators have asked that the episode be looked into.

— By Stephanie Taylor in Regina

The Canadian Press

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