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

WATCH: Jessica Patrick’s cousin Jacquie Bowes speaks at the Jessica Patrick Memorial March

The march commemorated the one-year anniversary of the 18-year-old’s unsolved death

‘This is where the movement is going to start’: Jessica Patrick remembered at memorial march

The march commemorates the one-year anniversary of the 18-year-old’s unsolved death

Upper Skeena Rec Centre officially opens

Community room named in honour of Peter and Lynn Newbery

Jury makes five recommendations following coroner’s inquest into Smithers man’s 2015 death

The jury classified the death accidental with “external pressure to the head [and] neck” as the cause

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Nanaimo RCMP officer ‘walks on water’ to rescue lost camper

66-year-old assisted earlier this month by Mounties who can seemingly work miracles

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Largest driving factor is the province’s complex stumpage system that results in high fees, expert says

20 day search for missing Labradoodle in Princeton, B.C. ends with tears of joy

The search brought out bloodhounds, and groups hoping to find Mordy

Most Read