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

Valdy gives volunteers a hand after Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival

Celebrated Canadian singer pitched in alongside starstruck clean-up crew

Robbery tactic used on Salmon Arm senior not uncommon

RCMP advice comes after credit cards stolen at Walmart parking lot

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival exceeds expectations

Artists, attendees and organizers praise effort behind successful event

Founder of Salmon Arm’s sister city exchange helps welcome Inashiki visitors

Twenty three Japanese guests visit city for a week, Salmon Arm to return in March

New attractions, rides and more lined up for Salmon Arm Fair

Event organizers invite community to be part of the growth

Memorial grows for teen who drowned in Okanagan Lake

Jaxsn Cahill drowned at Gellatly Bay Park in West Kelowna on Aug. 17

Clean the house, prep for your next trip: Tips to nix the post-vacation blues

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Latino-American rock ‘n’ roll band The Mavericks coming to the Okanagan

Kelowna is the only B.C. stop on the band’s worldwide tour

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

‘Ghost bike’ memorial installed where Okanagan cyclist was killed by truck

Ernie Gabbs, 69, died at the corner of Dillworth Drive and Harvey Avenue in Kelowna on Aug. 12

It’s back! Aritzia releases annual warehouse sale dates

Your favourite summer end sale is back and ready to take your money

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Most Read