PM makes first B.C. visit since TMX pipeline purchase

Justin Trudeau meets with members of the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee in Chilliwack

Security was tight as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the federal government’s Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee for the Trans Mountain pipeline project in Chilliwack on Tuesday.

The meeting marked his first foray into B.C. since his government announced it was buying the troubled pipeline for $4.5 billion.

Meeting at a hall on the Cheam reserve, Trudeau was greeted by about 40 protesters, who called the pipeline purchase a betrayal and a threat to the environment and their way of life.

Inside, Trudeau spoke briefly about the work being done by the monitoring committee and the importance of the pipeline to indigenous prosperity before moving into private discussions.

While he agreed the project has generated strong opinions on all sides of the debate, he said it was important to keep the dialogue going.

Trudeau also emphasized the importance of the project to reconciliation, and “how to turn the page on decades, generations, centuries of broken relationships.”

Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee was established by the government to provide environmental and cultural oversight for the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

It is co-chaired by Cheam Chief Ernie Crey, who was an outspoken advocate for the project even before the federal government’s purchase. He says the pipeline offers an unprecedented opportunity for indigenous people to escape crippling poverty.

He’s not alone in that support. Also on board is the Simpcw First Nation, formerly known as North Thompson Indian Band. Like the Cheam, they’re among the 40 aboriginal groups along the pipeline route that have signed mutual benefit agreements with Trans Mountain.

Those outside the meeting are not convinced. They said that many Cheam band members do not support the pipeline.

Others called for a move away from fossil fuels. “We must move as quickly as we can to a green energy economy,” said Sto:lo elder and wild salmon advocate Eddie Gardner.

Trudeau’s visit comes a day after nationwide protests against the pipeline purchase.

Trudeau left the meeting without talking to the protesters. His next stop is Sherwood Park, Alta., where he’ll visit the Kinder Morgan Edmonton Terminal South.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

“Nature defines my art”: Bethany Giesbrecht, painter

This story is part of a weekly series showcasing artists in the region

Vanderhoofian nominated for the Premier’s Awards

Phil Turgeon has been nominated by the Ministry of Children and Family Development under the Leadership category.

Rio Tinto responds to U.S. aluminum import tariffs

The tariffs were imposed by President Donald Trump Aug. 6

‘GoFundMe’ page created for Vanderhoof women who were in a brutal accident last month

Sasha Mortensen and Jessica Raymond were hit by a pick-up truck July 29, while in an embrace on Keith Road next to Plateau Mill.

Vanderhoof sees a surge of scam callers

Residents have received multiple unknown phone calls from a person claiming to be a representative of the CRA or law enforcement, local mounties said.

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Most Read