If you want to see the power of grassroots voices, look at Suits and Boots.
A little more than two years ago, a small group of capital markets professionals from Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Val d’Or, Quebec, joined me in founding this not-for-profit group in response to all the attacks on Alberta’s energy industry.
We had no idea what we were doing when we started out. But we’ve ended up being wildly successful. And why is that?
Because we were able to harness a wide and deep base of support from grassroots, normal Canadians who are fed up with professional protesters – which is a lesson I’ll bring with me when I become the next Conservative Member of Parliament for Edmonton Strathcona.
I will actively reach out to small groups of people, from all neighborhoods and all sectors, and listen to the “silent majority” who aren’t part of organized protest groups or simply are too busy trying to keep their jobs and raise a family. When you do that, and when you harness the ideas and energy of everyday, “normal” people, amazing things can be accomplished.
That I know, from my experience as founder of Suits and Boots.
|Brad Schell with his truck||Senate Bill C-69 hearings||#StandUpToChina campaign|
In April of 2018 our small group was upset when Kinder Morgan surprised everyone by announcing they were pulling out of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. The federal government stepped in to buy the pipeline, but we were dismayed that this was just one more sign that big energy projects were being stalled by people who wanted to kill our energy industry.
So we got together, filed as a not-for-profit with Industry Canada, collected some donations that allowed us to put up a website and a social media page, and then we went to work trying to provide a voice in support of the resource sector. We wanted the “suits” from the business and investment community to work with the “boots” on the ground in the resource sector to bring a positive, proactive voice.
And, boy, did we ever succeed:
All of this we did with simple donations from our grassroots members, and thousands of hours of volunteer time. Our grassroots supporters wrote letters, op-eds, made phone calls, posted our ideas on their social media platforms, spoke to their friends and neighbors, and donated to our cause.
That has been amazing, and so deeply humbling to be a part of - and it’s about to take the next step onto even bigger and better things.
On Thursday I announced that I’ll be stepping back from Suits and Boots to focus my efforts entirely on winning the Edmonton Strathcona Conservative nomination, and then moving on to win this riding for the Conservative Party in the next federal election.
Rick Grafton, a good friend of mine and an energy executive from Calgary, will be taking over as Executive Director of Suits and Boots. And he’ll be bringing on a new team with him.
Rick has been an early and strong supporter of our group, and he’s coming into this with some strong ideas and initiatives that I know will resonate with our Suits and Boots supporters.
And I will continue to throw all my time and energy into making sure that grassroots, conservative voices are heard loud and clear in Edmonton Strathcona.
- Rick Peterson
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