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

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Nuslhiixwta – A Place of Treasures – celebrates new name

After months of thought and deliberation, Healthy Beginnings now has a new name.

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

North Coast First Nation chief says one major oil spill could ruin economy forever

Chief Marilyn Slett of Heiltsuk Nation near Bella Bella is leading a delegation in Ottawa this week

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

An 800-pound pig named Theodore needs a forever home, B.C. society says

‘Theodore is not destined to be somebody’s bacon’

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

UK Prime Minister Theresa May wins party no-confidence vote, but troubles remain

May won the vote of 317 Conservative legislators with a 200-117 tally

B.C. trustee’s anti-LGBTQ comments got him barred from schools

Barry Neufeld calls vote to leave him off liaison list ‘workplace discrimination’

Most Read