Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a Liberal fundraising event at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario, on Wednesday Dec.19, 2018. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg)

Trudeau: B.C. protest arrests not ‘ideal,’ but rule of law must be respected

Trudeau made comments about Coastal GasLink pipeline in visit to Kamloops

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it’s “not an ideal situation” that 14 people were arrested Monday in northwestern B.C. over a protest against construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline.

Trudeau made the comment Wednesday on CBC’s radio program Daybreak Kamloops, prior to his visit to the city to attend a Liberal party fundraiser and a town hall gathering.

READ MORE: ‘Welcome to battleground B.C.’: Hundreds rally against LNG pipeline

The prime minister said his government has been working on reconciliation but the dispute over the pipeline, a key part of the $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, is “still an ongoing process.”

“There are a number of people and communities who are supportive, there are a number of folks who disagree with it,” he said in a phone interview with CBC host Shelley Joyce.

RCMP moved in Monday to enforce an injunction from the B.C. Supreme Court that ordered removal of anyone interfering with the Coastal GasLink project in and around the Morice River Bridge, on a remote forest service road southwest of Houston.

The pipeline company, which launched its new name of TC Energy on Wednesday, has said 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.

The gas-pipeline project is worth billions to the B.C. economy and questions of Indigenous authority and rights resonate across the country.

It is important to “leave room for people to express their concerns and be heard and be listened to,” said Trudeau, although he also 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 said.

“Sometimes engaging that way is actually raising the political attention and the stakes in something that we want to push toward better understanding, better listening.”

The prime minister’s trip to Kamloops is the start of an outreach tour that will expand across the country, and he’s also set to meet with the city’s mayor, Ken Christian, and two Indigenous leaders.

The federal riding of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo is currently held by Conservative MP Cathy McLeod and the Liberals are eyeing B.C. as a key battleground for the election in October.

Since 2017, Trudeau has held town halls in cities across Canada in the winter, making stops that resemble a campaign road tour.

The prime minister will be travelling to different regions to stay connected to and engage directly with Canadians, said Eleanore Catenaro, a press secretary with the Prime Minister’s Office.

Trudeau moves on to Regina on Thursday.

“Similar to past years, it will offer an opportunity for Canadians to discuss a wide range of topics, and how we create more jobs and grow the economy to benefit all Canadians,” Catenaro said in a statement.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The shootout at the Bechtel Ferry: 1945

On August 24, 1945, Charles Bechtel, age 66, was killed by the BC Provincial Police just south of the ranch.

A Bright Idea: Studio Arts students’ exhibition

Mount Baker Secondary School Visual Arts students’ hosted their end of semester art show Jan. 17

Hospice seeks clients for Live & Learn Program

After a successful two-year trial period, the Cranbrook and Kimberley Hospice Society is renewing its Live and Learn day program, and is putting out the word to prospective clients.

Cranbrook, Kimberley mayors discuss local issues at business event

Mayor Lee Pratt and Mayor Don McCormick sound off on economic development, housing, and wildfires

Shades of Green Ladies Bonspiel to make you believe

The annual event is looking for teams to compete in the “it’s only make believe,” themed bonspiel.

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Five steps for examining our lives

Rev. Yme Woensdregt The last few weeks, I’ve written some columns about… Continue reading

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read