Trudeau pleased ten­sions ease at B.C. protest site

Medicine Hat News - - UP FRONT -

KAM­LOOPS Ar­rests at a block­ade this week show the gov­ern­ment needs to prop­erly en­gage with Indige­nous Peo­ples and build a dif­fer­ent re­la­tion­ship than it has had in the past, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau said Thurs­day.

Trudeau said he was pleased to see ten­sions had eased be­tween po­lice and First Na­tions out­side a con­struc­tion zone for a nat­u­ral gas pipe­line in north­ern Bri­tish Columbia.

“I know that there will be ques­tions asked and re­quired to an­swer over the com­ing weeks about what ex­actly was done, what could have been done dif­fer­ently,” he said at Thomp­son Rivers Uni­ver­sity’s in­dus­trial train­ing and tech­nol­ogy cen­tre.

It’s time to fig­ure out how to make sure there is proper en­gage­ment with more re­spect when projects are built, some­thing gov­ern­ments haven’t done in the past, Trudeau said.

“I think we can all agree that is the way we need to move for­ward as a coun­try, in a more re­spect­ful, more thought­ful, more en­gaged way. There are go­ing to be mo­ments when that doesn’t work out as well as it should and we’ll need to learn from those mo­ments.

“But there is no ques­tion that the good­will that is shared by all Cana­di­ans who want to see bet­ter re­spect and part­ner­ship with Indige­nous Peo­ples, while at the same time we make sure we are con­tin­u­ing to grow the econ­omy.”

The RCMP and hered­i­tary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Na­tion met in Smithers, B.C., on Thurs­day to work on de­tails of an agree­ment reached a day ear­lier that would al­low ac­cess to crews from Coastal Gaslink to work in the area that was be­hind the block­ade.

The com­pany says it has signed agree­ments with all the First Na­tions along the pipe­line route, in­clud­ing the Wet’suwet’en, but non-elected hered­i­tary chiefs in one house of the five Wet’suwet’en clans op­pose the pipe­line.

The pipe­line would run through the ter­ri­tory to Kiti­mat, B.C., where LNG Canada is build­ing a $40-bil­lion ex­port fa­cil­ity.

Trudeau said he “deeply re­spects” the con­cerns and the is­sues brought for­ward by a peo­ple on both sides of the de­bate.

“The way we are do­ing re­source de­vel­op­ment, con­struc­tion, ex­port­ing of our re­sources is chang­ing in this coun­try,” he said.

“We know we can­not do it with­out cre­at­ing part­ner­ships and en­gag­ing with Indige­nous Peo­ples who are the tra­di­tional cus­to­di­ans of these lands, with­out think­ing deeply about the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­se­quences and the long-term im­pacts of the choices we’re mak­ing.”

At a town hall meet­ing in Kam­loops on Wed­nes­day night, Trudeau was in­ter­rupted and shouted down by some Indige­nous peo­ple in the crowd who were an­gry over the ar­rests of 14 peo­ple on Mon­day.

Trudeau said Thurs­day that Canada is a coun­try where peo­ple are en­cour­aged to speak out and share their opin­ions, but also to lis­ten to one an­other re­spect­fully.

“If some­one dis­agrees with what I’m do­ing or has ques­tions about where we’re go­ing, I want to be able to hear from them,” he said.

Trudeau also vis­ited a se­niors cen­tre Thurs­day in Kam­loops where he sat and chat­ted with peo­ple and posed for pic­tures.

VAN­COU­VER The Na­tional En­ergy Board would re­quire the cre­ation of a ma­rine mam­mal pro­tec­tion pro­gram for the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line in a se­ries of draft con­di­tions it has laid out be­fore it con­sid­ers the project.

The fo­cus of the re­view is to ap­ply the Cana­dian En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sess­ment Act and the Species at Risk Act to project-re­lated ma­rine ship­ping, the board says in the doc­u­ment.

The con­di­tions mit­i­gate po­ten­tial risks to the en­vi­ron­ment and pro­tect the pub­lic, it says.

Re­leas­ing these draft con­di­tions and rec­om­men­da­tions is not an in­di­ca­tion of the board’s forth­com­ing rec­om­men­da­tion to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to ei­ther ap­prove or deny the project, it says.

The board, which has to have its fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tions in by Feb. 22, also rec­om­mends a num­ber of mea­sures be taken to off­set the in­creased un­der­wa­ter noise and po­ten­tial risk posed by ship strikes of ma­rine mam­mals in­clud­ing south­ern res­i­dent killer whales.

Terry Beech, par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary to the trans­porta­tion min­is­ter, had said ear­lier the south­ern res­i­dent killer whale is a vi­tal part of Canada’s lo­cal ma­rine ecosys­tem.

“The sur­vival of this iconic species is a pri­or­ity of our gov­ern­ment and in­deed a pri­or­ity for all Cana­di­ans,” he said.

The Fed­eral Court of Ap­peal quashed the gov­ern­ment’s ap­proval of the project in Au­gust, cit­ing the en­ergy board’s fail­ure to ex­am­ine im­pacts on the ocean ecosys­tem, in­clud­ing B.C.’s en­dan­gered south­ern res­i­dent killer whales. It also found Canada failed to mean­ing­fully con­sult with First Na­tions dur­ing the fi­nal phase of dis­cus­sions.

The board is also look­ing to limit the num­ber of whale watch­ing boats and the amount of time they spend on the wa­ter.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s gov­ern­ment, which pur­chased the pipe­line and ex­pan­sion project for $4.5 bil­lion, or­dered the en­ergy board to re­view the project’s ma­rine ship­ping ef­fects within 155 days.

Fed­eral Fish­eries Min­is­ter Jonathan Wilkin­son said Thurs­day the draft rec­om­men­da­tions and con­di­tions are an “im­por­tant step to­wards meet­ing the rea­son­able time­line that we pro­vided, and the type of progress that Cana­di­ans ex­pect to see.”

“The Na­tional En­ergy Board is an in­de­pen­dent reg­u­la­tor and is re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing the re­view on ma­rine ship­ping,” he said. “We will care­fully re­view them and pro­vide com­ment, as nec­es­sary.”

The board is seek­ing com­ment on its draft con­di­tions. Trans Moun­tain could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment.

The Trans Moun­tain ma­rine pro­tec­tion plan should be in place three months be­fore it starts op­er­a­tions and should de­scribe how it will in­cor­po­rate Indige­nous tra­di­tions and knowl­edge in de­vel­op­ing its pro­grams, the board says.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment should re­view and up­date its ma­rine ship­ping oil spill re­sponse re­quire­ments and look at in­clud­ing Indige­nous Peo­ples and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in re­sponse plan­ning, it rec­om­mends.

The pipe­line ex­pan­sion would triple the amount of oil be­ing car­ried from the Ed­mon­ton area to a ma­rine ship­ping ter­mi­nal in Burn­aby, in­creas­ing the num­ber of tankers in Metro Van­cou­ver wa­ters sev­en­fold.

It also would like to see a reg­u­la­tor frame­work for mak­ing en­hanced tug es­cort manda­tory in the Sal­ish Sea for oil tankers.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment should im­ple­ment a ma­rine bird mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram to bet­ter un­der­stand im­pacts of ves­sel use on avian wildlife in­clud­ing species at risk, it says.

Green­house gas re­duc­tion mea­sures re­lated to ma­rine ship­ping should be ac­cel­er­ated and im­ple­mented, the board rec­om­mends.


Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau par­tic­i­pates in a town hall Q&A at Thomp­son Rivers Uni­ver­sity in Kam­loops on Wed­nes­day.

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