Catherine McKenna, federal minister of environment and climate change, faced a small but audible group of protesters during her stop at Saanich Wednesday. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Canada’s federal environment minister faced a small but audible group of protesters, who also peppered her with questions about her government’s record on climate change.

Catherine McKenna, federal minister of environment and climate change, encountered the protesters Wednesday morning in Saanich as she and provincial counterpart George Heyman announced a combined $14.65 million funding towards the purchase of 7,900 hectares in southeastern British Columbia to complete a conservation area for species-at-risk including Grizzly bears.

RELATED: ‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

McKenna, along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have become lightening rods for environmentalists, who have accused the federal Liberals of betrayal over their decision to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

The protesters, who mingled themselves amongst the audience at the Swan Lake and Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, held up hand-crafted signs that read Stop Peddling Pipelines as she was speaking. They also chanted ‘Money won’t matter on a dead planet’ during parts of her speech and accused the minister of hypocrisy.

Several of them also asked her questions during the media session, with one asking how the federal government could justify spending $7 million on conservation efforts today, while spending billions on expanding fossil fuel projects like the Trans-Mountain Pipeline.

RELATED: Trudeau, McKenna to announce compensation for federal carbon plan

McKenna said Canada is pursuing an ambitious clean energy program with the proviso that Canada’s transition towards a clean energy future will not happen overnight in blaming the Conservatives for a decade of inaction on climate change.

“We have a climate plan that includes putting a price on pollution,” she said. “Unfortunately, there are many Conservative politicians, who think it should be free to pollute. We are phasing out coal. At the same time, we are working with communities and workers to ensure that they have a future, that they have jobs. We are making historic investments in transportation, and yes, we are going to continue to invest in nature.”

McKenna acknowledged that some voices would like the government to be more ambitious. “And then there are other people who want us to have no action at all. My commitment is to try to bring people together.”

Canadians will continue to drive cars and Canada will continue to export oil for a while, she said, adding that the cost of living is an issue in many areas of the country, including British Columbia.

At the same time, the federal government will continue to work with the provinces to protect the environment and invest in green technology, she said.

“We can do both,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

“Does Kirby care?” Heiltsuk Nation using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

“No excuse” for killing of two young grizzly cubs

Reader hopeful someone will come forward with information

UPDATE: U.S. firm fined $2.9M for fuel spill that soiled B.C. First Nation territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

No delivery services hard on local families

New parents Candace Knudsen and Bjorn Samuelsen spent five weeks away from home

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read