PHOTOS: Neal Hancock, nowadays better known as Bernard the Roughneck, with his co-star in a 2014 theatrical production in Quebec’s Eastern Townships (Ruth Garber photo, Journal Regional le Haut-Saint-Francoise). The play was about a boot-maker who had his foot amputated. Below: Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs (from her Facebook account), Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors President Mark Scholz (from the CAODC’s website), and a shot of Mr. Hancock taken at a B.C. hearing in August of the National Energy Board on the Kinder Morgan Pipeline by National Observer journalist Elizabeth McSheffrey.

It turns out the young man who acted last Wednesday as the public face of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors’ press conference in Ottawa has additional experience as an amateur thespian.

stubbsMainstream media, and the CBC in particular, gave credible reviews to Neal Bernard Hancock’s performance at the press conference last week, repeatedly airing his statement in the persona of “Bernard the Roughneck” that “I’m not a guy who’s knowledgeable about public policy or the processes that go on in buildings like this; I’m a roughneck…”

Mr. Hancock, 32, is unquestionably a real oil patch worker and he seems sincere in his beliefs.

Nevertheless, it cannot have helped the credibility of the effort by CAODC President Mark Scholz and Lakeland Conservative Member of Parliament Shannon Stubbs to introduce a petition apparently designed put the prime minister in an awkward political spot that it was so quickly revealed their key spokesperson majored in media, communications, history and political studies at Bishop’s University in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

Nor can the now-emerging additional revelation that Mr. Hancock had the leading role in a 2014 amateur theatrical company’s production in the rural region much help the CAODC’s cause.

mark_scholz2Google searches by curious social media users turned up the reference to Mr. Hancock’s theatrical star turn in a Jan. 14, 2014, advance story by the Journal Regional le Haut-Saint-Francoise, published in Cookshire-Eaton, Que.

The play, William Stone’s Leg, written by Eastern Townships playwright Marlene Lowry of Sawyerville and performed in English, tells the story of the first major surgery in Canadian history in which ether was used as an anesthetic. The operation was done in 1847 in the nearby community of Eaton Corner on a young shoemaker, whose leg was amputated.

“The leading roles – William Stone and his wife Olive Stone – are played by Neal Hancock and Bethany Rothney,” wrote Journal Regional reporter Rachel Garber.

“Hancock is a student at Bishop’s University, in his last year in politics,” Ms. Garber noted in her story. “He’s enthusiastic about his character. ‘Will Stone is a boot maker. He’s a guy with a sense of humour, considering all that happens to him.’”

no-bernardA picture accompanying the story shows Mr. Hancock with his co-star in 19th Century-style garb.

While the paper did not review it, the production, which premiered the next evening in the Sawyerville Community Centre, was a success, Ms. Garber told me in an email yesterday evening. “Yes, the production went ahead as planned, and Neal did a fine job,” she wrote.

Funds raised by the performance went to the Eaton Corner Museum.

More recently, Mr. Hancock has shown up at public hearings of the National Energy Board into the Kinder Morgan Pipeline in British Columbia and at the CAODC’s press conference in Ottawa dressed in his oilfield work gear, a red hard hat and blue coveralls, where he has been photographed and interviewed by journalists.

The right-wing video commentary site, Rebel Media, has been pushing the Bernard the Roughneck persona hard, marketing mugs and T-shirts with Mr. Hancock’s image on them.

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  1. It’s just lucky that the play wasn’t called “William Legg’s Stones,” although it takes some stones to pull off bullshit like that news conference without blushing.

  2. David – you are so good – to find out the Rebel’s roughneck has all these other skills like acting, media, communication, politics, university degrees, etc.! Great journalistic investigating! I also read that Rebel took out the Bernard the Roughneck domain site many months ago – perhaps before Neal was even on the scene.

    1. and domains appear to both have been registered via GoDaddy on Feb 19, 2016.

      Most content on TRM regarding “Bernard” was posted on or after Feb 19, but there is one early video from Jan 30, 2016.

      I will not speculate on what any of this means or does not mean.

  3. “The right wing video commentary site, Rebel Media, has been pushing the Bernard the Roughneck persona hard, marketing mugs and T-shirts with Mr. Hancock’s image on them.”

    I want a mug! But only if the fresh faced Ezra Levant’s mug is on there too. Two hack actors for the price of one.

  4. Would be interesting to know where the red hard hat and blue coveralls were manufactured, as well as all the Rebel merchandise. Perhaps the answer to that would lead to the real problem…

    1. Well it might surprise you to know plenty of oil patch workers have college and university degrees , as about 19-22% of the work place requires a degree and being a roughneck pays better then what must starving actors are making . Bad icky a thriving oil patch pays well and there fire deaws a variety of workers . But that wouldn’t fit your high school drop out rig pig stereo type .

    2. There are a lot of oil workers that are very articulate and well educated. When you have to support a family sometimes you take the job that pays better and you are over qualified for rather than the $50,000 a year you can get with your genetics degree.

  5. In a land where oil prices were falling and the end of the world was nigh, only one man could save the economy – The Roughneck. After a period of loneliness and depression in his parent’s basement, he lifted himself up by his own bootstraps and saved the world!

    Rebel Films is proud to present ‘The Roughneck’.

    Executive Producer: Mark Scholz

    Director: Ezra Levant

    Starring: Neal Hancock as ‘Bernard the Roughneck’ and Shannon Stubbs as ‘The Girl by His Side’.

    What they’re saying about ‘The Roughneck’:

    Edmonton Sun: “I cried ’til I laughed.”
    Calgary Herald: “I laughed ’til I cried.”

    Opening soon in a movie house near you! Rated: PG

    (Promotional coffee mugs and t-shirts will be on sale in the lobby.)

  6. It makes me angry that Bernard and whoever is backing him decided to up-sell the stupid oil patch stereotype. There are lots of smart and educated people in the patch who couldn’t get jobs with their “real” degrees despite the repeated and false claims of the universities that degrees lead to better work. Playing up the dumb rig pig stereotype does nobody any good and Mr.Hancock as somebody who apparently has worked in the patch should be ashamed of himself for helping to perpetuate an out dated and offensive stereotype.

  7. It could be worse. Ezra Levant could have a publicly subsidised cable TV channel to spew his poison. That was on the table a few years ago, and our regulatory system quashed it. That was the turning of the tide for the Deform Party, and the zenith of Harper’s power to pervert.

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