Two arrested as protesters greet PM in Kamloops

Justin Trudeau’s visit to city attracts naysayers on both sides of pipeline debate

Kamloops Mounties have conformed two 50 year old male protesters were arrested outside the Coast Hotel during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's visit to Kamloops Wednesday.

The two men were each arrested — in separate incidents about 45 minutes apart — for blocking traffic outiside the hotel, said RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie.

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The first male, who was arrested at about 11:15 a.m., resisted arrest, she said. 

"We asked him to stop obstructing traffic — numerous times we'd asked him," said Shelkie. "He was unco-operative and then to prevent continuation of the offense we arrested him  and then he resisted arrest."

Protesters turned up in force outside the Kamloops hotel on Wednesday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke inside to a room full of Liberal supporters about coming together during a divisive time in politics for Canada and the world.

In a campaign-style stop in the city, Trudeau was at the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre to speak at a Liberal Party fundraiser followed by a town hall meeting with members of the public at Thompson Rivers University.

About 200 people lined Rogers Way — some protesters wearing yellow vests, displaying signs in support of pipelines while others, including apparent Tiny House Warrior members and supporters, were anti-pipeline.

A heavy police presence watched over the protesters, who shared the sidewalk peacefully as they waived signs sporting slogans such as “I support Canadian oil + gas & the jobs it creates,” “transform not Trans Mountain,” “no carbon tax,” “Canadians must come first” and “traitor Trudeau.”

Chanting protesters could be heard yelling, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Trudeau has got to go.” The same chant was used to denounce the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Also at issue amongst the protesters was the carbon tax and Canada signing on to the UN migration pact.

Inside the hotel, Trudeau took the stage at the $300-a-plate lunch fundraiser at about 12:30 p.m., speaking of the polarizing nature of politics in Canada and the world and imploring his fellow Liberals to listen to people’s concerns and work to allay them.

In his opening remarks, Trudeau said many people came up to him over the holidays describing 2018 as a “polarizing” year for him, with plenty of anger and attacks.

Trudeau’s response was that he’s been focused on what his government’s accomplished last year.

“We were incredibly busy as a government,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister noted signing the new trade agreement with Mexico and the United States, and ratifying the 11-country Asia-Pacific Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“At a time when the world is worried about trade and closing in on itself, Canada stands resolutely understanding that trade is good for growth and creating opportunity for everyone,” Trudeau said.

He also noted the largest private sector investment in Canadian history, LNG Canada — a liquefied natural gas project at the centre of an impasse with First Nations in Northern B.C. — legalizing cannabis, enacting pay equity legislation and the carbon tax as othe accomplishments his government has made.

“And that was the kinds of things that we do when we role up our sleeves, work together and listen to Canadians,” he said.

Trudeau described the country as one with a diverse range of voices and perspectives, and that coming together with a sense of how to move forward in thoughtful ways has always been a challenge.

Trudeau said his fellow Liberals and Canadians must be open to listening to each other’s concerns and working to allay those concerns with concrete solutions — something, he said, his government has tried to focus on over the past three years.

Outside the hotel, however, protesters felt as though they haven't been listened to.

Tiny House Warrior supporter and member of the Secwepemc nation Jody Leon criticized Trudeau for not consulting with hereditary chiefs and trying to build the Trans Mountain pipeline through First Nations land where he does not have consent.

"If he wanted to put forward a pipeline he doesn't need to go through Indigenous communities to do that, so [he's] not listening to Indigenous communities where we feel our safety or our culture could be impacted," said Leon.

Kamloops woman Michelle Simpson, who is part of the Yellow Vest Movement, told KTW she attended the protest because she wants the federal government to be more accountable to the Canadian people, expressing her opposition to Canada signing off on the UN migration pact.

“For me, Trudeau, he seems to be living in his bubble,” Simpson said. “It’s just unfortunate that us Canadians aren’t being listened to.”


© Kamloops This Week


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