British Columbia

Trudeau dogged by pipeline protesters as he visits B.C. forestry centre

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mingled with supporters at two events on Vancouver Island Saturday, but also faced protesters over his government's decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline.

PM defended government's decision to buy Trans Mountain pipeline

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to media following a tour of the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan, B.C., on Saturday. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

Justin Trudeau mingled with hundreds of friendly people at two family-focused events on Vancouver Island, but the prime minister was also reminded of the strong opposition his government faces over its decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline.

At an outdoor news conference Saturday at the Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan, B.C., Trudeau acknowledged there are people opposed to the government's decision to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan. However, he said it won't stop the project or Liberal plans to fight climate change.

"There are people out there who think there is still a choice to be made between what's good for the environment and what's good for the economy. I don't," he said. "I know the only way to build a strong economy, moving forward, is by protecting the environment, and ensuring we are protecting the environment for future generations is a deep priority of mine. Always has been."

People protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline await Trudeau's arrival at the centre. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

In May, Trudeau's Liberals announced the decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast and related infrastructure for $4.5 billion. The government could also spend billions more to build the controversial expansion.

"We know we have to put in place a strong plan to fight climate change," said Trudeau. "There are people on the other side of the political spectrum who don't like that."

The prime minister shook a lot of hands and posed for countless selfies, but some placard-carrying protesters at the gates of the forestry centre let him know the pipeline issue will continue to dog him, with one even calling him an "oil pimp."

Trudeau also made comments about North Korea, reacting to reports from the United Nations that the country has made few moves to halt its nuclear weapons program.

"We must see a denuclearized North Korea," he told reporters. "North Korea continues to be a concern, not just for regional security but global stability. We need to continue to put pressure on the North Korean regime."

Earlier in the day, Trudeau made a surprise visit to the Duncan Farmers' Market, which quickly attracted a crowd of people around him, with many posing for selfies.

The local band playing at the market stopped its regular set and played "O Canada," with Trudeau later singing with the crowd.

The prime minister wrapped up his Saturday tour with a visit to the Richmond Night Market, where he received enthusiastic applause from the hundreds of people who gathered near a stage to hear his remarks.

Trudeau was joined on stage by Steveston-Richmond East MP Joe Peschisolido, the MP for Delta Carla Quatrough, and Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan.

He reminded the crowd that Saturday was Canada Food Day, and he noted that all the delicacies being served up at the market were made in Canada.

"Just like this night market, we come together and we share, and celebrate, and bring our families to know that our differences make us stronger as individuals, as communities, and as a country," Trudeau told them.