Prime minister encounters angry protest on latest stop in cross-country town hall tour
Original Article from CBC News | Manitoba: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/trudeau-winnipeg-town-hall-1.3953563
Protesters gave Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pause during his town hall meeting in Winnipeg on Thursday, until an Indigenous elder stepped in to ask for their “respect.”
The prime minister was in the city for the 10th stop on his cross-country tour. The forum got started late at around 4 p.m. in front of a packed house at the University of Winnipeg.
Trudeau was asked to justify his decision to approve the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines, when a handful of chanting protesters cut him off mid-answer, shouting “Climate leaders don’t build pipelines.”
The prime minister attempted to continue speaking before stopping and addressing protesters directly, asking multiple times for permission to continue his answer.
“We need to be able to have responsible conversations in this country. We need to listen to each other respectfully, and we are going to disagree from time to time. That happens. That’s why we have elections. That’s why we have opportunities to debate. That’s why I’m having town halls to make sure that I’m hearing from a broad range of voices,” he said.
“I’m taking the opportunity not afforded to me in seven-minute news clips on the 11 o’clock news to actually share my thought process, my reflection on how we need to move forward responsibly as a country to do that, and I feel uncomfortable having to do that with people shouting over my voice.”
After a continued back-and-forth between the prime minister and the protesters, an Indigenous elder asked Trudeau for the microphone.
“I don’t know if she’ll listen to you, she won’t listen to me,” Trudeau said, but he passed the microphone.
“I’m an elder of Treaty 1 territory. Our treaty has allowed you people to come to our territories,” the elder said. “So I’m asking that you people that are making statements, please respect everybody, please respect our territory.”
Once the crowd settled, Trudeau said he believes the move to safer energy sources won’t happen overnight.
Pipelines will help reduce pressure on the rail system during the transition while most Canadians still rely on fossil fuel, he said.