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

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Sooke Potholes viewing area likely to remain closed

Report says that more rockslides likely in the area

Residents push back on downtown Victoria tree removal

The birch tree at the Wharf-Government intersection will be removed to make way for bike lanes

Husband of slain RCMP officer ‘disgusted and disheartened’ by parole board

Killer of Const. Sarah Beckett allowed limited day parole for alcohol treatment

Sooke school adds wrestling to sports lineup

Journey Middle School team already bringing home medals

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Speaker Darryl Plecas’ report details ‘flagrant overspending’

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

Most Read