Trudeau touts controversial pipeline in speech to B.C. supporters

The Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline is a key part of a $40-billion LNG Canada project

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted the benefits of a liquefied natural gas project that’s at the centre of an impasse with First Nations in a speech to supporters in Kamloops on Wednesday.

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

READ MORE: Protesters open second gate, give workers access to northern B.C. pipeline

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.

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 First Nations along the route but demonstrators say Wet’suwet’en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given their consent.

Later Wednesday, Trudeau told Radio NL that “we’re going to have to do a better job” of dealing with First Nations rights and title.

“There’s still work to be done right across the country in terms of having the opportunity for Indigenous communities to strengthen their governance models,” he said.

“The federal government is not the one who should be deciding who speaks for which Indigenous community. Our responsibility is to support communities as they develop models that make sense. That’s what we’re in the middle of right now.”

The prime minister was scheduled to speak at a town hall gathering later Wednesday night.

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.

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

NDP bring Green New Deal to the Kootenays

MPs Wayne Stetski and Peter Julian held climate change talks in Nelson, Cranbrook and Revelstoke

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Smoke-free summer a boon for West Kootenay tourism

Tourism centres seeing numbers up

Saving lives on grocery list for Castlegar responders on Wednesday

Crews attended local supermarkets three times during the day

Black Press Kootenay Career Fair underway in Cranbrook

Today, Thursday, August 22, around 40 employers will be waiting to meet potential new employees

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town hit by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read