Trudeau touts controversial pipeline project ahead of town hall meeting in Kamloops - APTN NewsAPTN News

Trudeau touts controversial pipeline project ahead of town hall meeting in Kamloops



The Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted the benefits of a liquefied natural gas project that’s at the centre of an impasse with some members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation in a speech to supporters in Kamloops, B.C., on Wednesday.

RCMP arrested 14 people Monday in northwestern British Columbia over a protest against construction of a natural gas pipeline by Coastal GasLink, a key part of the $40-billion LNG Canada project.

In a campaign-style speech at the Liberal fundraiser, Trudeau did not address the arrests but heralded the massive project as one of his government’s key achievements over the past year.

“We moved forward on the LNG Canada project, which is the largest private sector investment in Canada’s history, $40 billion, which is going to produce Canadian LNG that will supplant coal in Asia as a power source and do much for the environment,” he said.

Earlier Wednesday, he told a CBC Radio program in Kamloops that the arrests were “not an ideal situation.”

The federal government has been working on reconciliation but the dispute over the pipeline is “still an ongoing process,” he said.

“There are a number of people and communities who are supportive, there are a number of folks who disagree with it,” he told the CBC.

The RCMP enforced an injunction Monday from the B.C. Supreme Court that ordered the removal of any obstructions to the pipeline project in and around the Morice River Bridge on a remote forest service road southwest of Houston.

The pipeline company says it has signed agreements with all 20 First Nations along the route but the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have not given their consent.

Trudeau said he would not visit the blockade site.

“One of the things that is really important is to try to reduce the temperature a little bit,” he told the CBC.

The prime minister’s town hall in Kamloops is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT and you can watch it live on the APTN News Facebook page.

He told supporters at the fundraiser that he expected to hear “strong voices” at the town hall with very clear ideas about what his government should be doing.

“The challenge we have to have as Canadians is to be open to listening to people, to understand their concerns and their fears, and to work together to try and allay them,” he said.

“We will always have in this country perspectives that vary widely.”

Dozens of protesters on both sides of the pipeline debate gathered outside the hotel where Trudeau spoke at the fundraiser.

Protesters wearing yellow vests carried signs that read “Carbon Tax Cash Grab” and “Trudeau for Treason” while taking part in a chant opposing a United Nations pact on migration signed by Canada. Conservative critics argue it threatens Canada’s sovereignty.

Keith LaRiviere, who is Cree and participated in the yellow-vest protest, said he knows some of the people involved in the pipeline blockade.

He said he supports their right to protest but he believes those building the pipeline also have the right to do their work.

“I go to sweat lodges with some of those people so I really know them intimately, and I do support their cause. I do support their right to their land. I don’t support the aggressive way they were forced out of their position,” said LaRiviere, who travelled from Prince George.

On the other side of the hotel parking lot, a group of Indigenous protesters opposed to the pipeline sang, drummed and held a banner reading “PM Trudeau: Canada needs climate action now.”

Janice Billy said she supports the Wet’suwet’en because her First Nation, the Secwepemc, are also losing control of their lands.

“The people … had no reason to be arrested. They are peaceful people. They were there protecting the land and water,” she said.

The federal riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo is held by Conservative MP Cathy McLeod, who is also the Indigenous Affairs Critic in Parliament. The Liberals see B.C. as a key battleground for the election in October.

Trudeau’s visit to Kamloops marks the start of an outreach tour that will expand across the country.

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2 Responses to “Trudeau touts controversial pipeline project ahead of town hall meeting in Kamloops”

  1. bluebuzzmusic@outlook.com'
    Steven January 13, 2019 at 2:23 am #

    I was there and thought Trudeau did great. Just my opinion though!

  2. andrey.ichshenko@outlook.com'
    Andrey January 13, 2019 at 2:14 am #

    Great article! Trudeau is trying to secure the votes once again as the time is running out.

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