ROSEDALE, B.C. _ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau linked Indigenous reconciliation and the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline today as he met with a group in British Columbia that monitors construction of the project.
Trudeau told the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee that while he doesn’t take the presence of First Nations’ leaders at the meeting as direct approval for the pipeline, he does see their attendance as support for reconciliation that both sides need to work on.
He said the purpose of the committee is to make sure the project is done right, with minimal concerns and maximizing benefits.
Among the committee members is Chief Ernie Crey, who recently told media outlets the Cheam First Nation would consider buying a stake in the pipeline, depending on the circumstances and what’s involved.
The federal government is spending $4.5 billion to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan to ensure the expansion goes ahead.
About three dozen people protested outside the meeting, including Eddie Gardner of the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance, who says Trudeau is “deluded” if he thinks the project is compatible with the environment.