KAMLOOPS, b.c. — prime minister Justin Trudeau has boasted to his supporters on Wednesday, the merits of the liquefied natural gas project in British Columbia, which is at the heart of a dead end with some First Nations communities.
The royal Canadian mounted police (RCMP) arrested Monday, 14 people in the north-west of the province on a barricade erected against the construction of the pipeline, Coastal GasLink, a key element of the project of liquefied natural gas from LNG Canada in Kitimat, a value of $40 billion.
The pipeline of $ 6.2 billion Coastal GasLink Pipeline, a subsidiary of TransCanada, has to be transported over a distance of 670 kilometres, the liquefied natural gas from the Dawson Creek area, near the alberta border, up to the deep water port of Kitimat, near the Pacific.
Members of the Wet’suwet’en first nation had established a makeshift camp and a checkpoint in the south-west of Houston, British Columbia, to block a logging road leading to a site of construction of the pipeline.
In a speech to flavor electioneering pronounced in front of liberal supporters at a fundraising event in Kamloops on Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau has not talked about these arrests. However, it has been argued that the large-scale project was one of the major achievements of his government during the last year.
“(This project) will produce liquefied natural gas (lng canada, which will replace the coal as a source of energy in Asia and will do a lot for the environment,” he told the activists.
A outcome, “not ideal”
In the beginning of the day on Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau said he was sorry that 14 people were arrested Monday. In an interview with CBC radio, Kamloops, before his visit to the city, he admitted that this outcome was “not ideal”, and assured that his government was committed to working for reconciliation with the Aboriginal people. But he also admitted that a dispute exists as to the pipeline, and that it was important to “let people express their concerns”.
“There are a number of people and communities who support the project, and a number of people who do not agree”, he said, while recalling that Canada is a country where there is rule of law and the judgments of the courts must be respected.
The RCMP upheld on Monday an order of the supreme Court of British Columbia (the equivalent of the superior Court), which prohibited any obstruction to the pipeline project in and around the bridge of the river Morice. The company’s Coastal GasLink Pipeline submits that it has signed agreements with all First Nations communities along the route, but the protesters argue that the chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary rather than elected, had not given their consent.
The prime minister felt that it was important now to “reduce the tension”, on the site of the blockade was erected along a forest path south-west of Houston. That is why, he says, he will not be on the spot, because “sometimes this amplifies the political attention and issues”.
Dozens of protesters on both sides of the debate were given an appointment on Wednesday in front of the hotel where Mr. Trudeau participated in the fundraising activity. Others were taking advantage of the presence of the prime minister to denounce the “green tax” by the federal government or the global Pact on migration, a UN treaty signed by Canada.
Justin Trudeau began Wednesday in British Columbia on a tour of the country, before the resumption of work in the House of commons on the 29th of January and the beginning of the election year. He was to meet with the mayor of Kamloops, Ken Christian, before you spoke to two indigenous leaders.
In addition to the partisan activity of financing, Mr. Trudeau was also required to participate in the evening a public meeting with citizens at Thompson Rivers university, still in Kamloops.
Since 2017, Mr. Trudeau participates in many cities of Canada, during the winter months, to such public assemblies, which are similar to a tour of the election campaign.
The federal riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo is represented by female mps conservative since its creation in 2003. But with the election in October 2015, Cathy McLeod had obtained 35% of the vote, compared with about 30% each for the liberal and the neo-democrat. It is, therefore, for the liberals, a constituency key to win in the general election of October.