PM Justin Trudeau shows up in the Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo on Friday as he defended his government’s decision to support the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline through B.C.
Trudeau spoke to an overflow crowd in the gymnasium at Vancouver Island University, while dozens of protesters carried anti-pipeline placards outside.
The prime minister faced a mix of cheers and boos on his arrival. When he spoke about the pipeline, he was repeatedly interrupted, causing him to show his frustration at one point by exclaiming: “Come on! Come on! Really?”
“If you can’t respect the people in this room, you need to leave,” he said before asking the police to remove those who were disrupting the event.
Police physically removed a man and a woman as someone else shouted: “Shame on you Trudeau.”
Trudeau was called “my handsome precious one” by a senior who grilled him about “that damn pipeline” — and then asked for a hug — before losing his cool at hecklers yelling behind him.
“I am trying to engage with you. I am trying to speak with you,” Trudeau told two women in the crowd. They continued their interruptions with shouts about a handful of issues including the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.
“I’m trying to answer a question from someone who asked me a question that is extremely important to her and I’m not able to answer her question that she asked of the prime minister because you think your voice is more important than her ability to listen,” Trudeau said to the crowd’s applause.
“That’s not very polite.”
The prime minister turned his back and took other questions before the familiar voices of the two hecklers proved too distracting.
Trudeau said the pipeline is a key component of the federal government’s approach to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which means Ottawa had to get a national agreement on carbon pricing that will allow Canada to meet its international commitments on climate change.
“But in order to do that, part of moving forward is approving the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which will be able to get our resources responsibly and safely to new markets across the Pacific,” he said, adding the government’s ocean protection plan will better protect the coastline from oil spills at the same time.
“It is in the national interest to move forward with the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and we will be moving forward with the Kinder Morgan pipeline.”
He told the B.C. crowd: “It is in the national interest to move forward with the Kinder Morgan and we will be moving forward with the Kinder Morgan pipeline.”
The B.C. minority NDP government recently announced its proposal to ban bitumen shipments off the West Coast, bound for Asian markets. The move infuriated the NDP government in neighboring Alberta.
“We’re prepared to do what it takes to get this pipeline built — whatever it takes,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley told reporters Thursday, while announcing her government will halt discussions to purchase electricity from B.C.