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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Council approves two retail cannabis stores for Ladysmith

Their applications are now in the hands of the provincial government

Ladysmith Heritage Awards honour commitments to preserving local history

Four awards were given at the first ever Ladysmith Heritage Awards ceremony

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

UPDATE – Chemainus Secondary School fire being investigated as suspicious

Classes cancelled Friday due to ongoing investigation and damage

Town Council approves recommended remunerations increase

A Select Committee on Council Remunerations was formed to determine an increase to remunerations

VIDEO: Behind the scenes of turning newspapers into digital archives

Kelowna Capital News donated materials dating from 1980 to 2000

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

Most Read