Immediately following the television broadcast of Bernard’s e-petition speech in Ottawa on September 20, 2016, social media critics were unable to reconcile his unpolished appearance with an articulate opinion, so he was accused of being a fraud. Because of this, many concluded that he was a character put forward by a PR team. A mob mentality erupted on both sides and the tone of the attacks turned dark including cyberporn bullying and threats of physical harm to family members. Shannon Stubbs, the MP for Lakeland (AB) took notice of the unfair judgements being made towards Bernard so she posted her own defense:
“Leftist and liberal activists, champagne socialists and happy keyboard warriors have been quick to judge oil workers, particularly over the course of the last few weeks. The hypocrisy and double-standards are ridiculous and, quite frankly, they’re embarrassing for those slinging mud. Here’s a summary:
- If the oil workers are dressed in their work clothes, they’re dirty, unkempt stuntmen/women.
- If they have their long hair tied back under their hard hats for work, they’re fake.
- If they have a liberal arts degree, they surely can’t actually work on a rig.
- If they’re in a suit, they’re frauds.
- If they’ve participated in a church theatre production, they’re definitely paid actors.
- If they’ve been interviewed by a specific media outlet, they must certainly be conspiring together.
- If they go by a middle name as opposed to a given name, there must be something fishy.
- If they’ve just gone back to work, but have been unemployed for months – they should have saved their money.
- If they worked on a rig, they must have made a six figure salary.
- If they’re from somewhere else, or they’ve lived somewhere else while laid off and trying to find work, they can’t possibly speak for Albertans.
- If they’re currently employed, even for a short time, they must know nothing about being unemployed and struggling.
The fact of the matter is, when the leftist and liberal activists can’t properly and intelligently counter a policy or position they disagree with, they resort to name-calling and personal attacks which is sad and truly unfortunate, and does nothing but make them look like angry and irrational hypocrites. First, they attacked someone for appearing to be their own perception of a stereotype, but then they condemned him for not being it enough. How ironic it is that these types are generally preaching love, tolerance, understanding, and acceptance, yet when it relates to something they don’t agree with, those sentiments and warm-and-fuzzies are thrown out the window.
Truth be told, an oil worker can both work on a rig AND hold a political science or liberal arts degree. The oil and gas industry offers people many different options in their lives, and this is a great thing. From accountants to “roughnecks,” there’s a place and an important role for everyone. Salaries range as much as skills and talents and personalities do, and not everyone is pulling in six figure salaries.
Many oil workers are well-educated, with varied interests (including theatre and the arts!), and multiple ambitions and aspirations – just like all Canadians. They work in the industry to put food on their table, to establish a nest egg, to save for a specific purpose, to utilize their education or trade, or maybe it’s the career they know and love for their whole lives.
Oil workers are not dirty and unkempt because they wear their work clothes in unconventional locations to showcase what a real oil worker looks like, so many Canadians who don’t know, can see and understand. They have all lengths and colours of hair, and come from various regions in Canada. Alberta is a mosaic of people who represent all provinces and territories (and all around the world), including their adopted home.
Bernard Hancock has stuck his neck out to stand up for his fellow oil workers, not for fame or notoriety but because he believes in trying to make a difference, and that’s something of which we can all be proud. Thank you, Bernard, for continuing to fight the good fight for your fellow oil and gas workers, and for all Canadians.”