Police and about 200 protesters were outside a Kamloops hotel Wednesday while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke inside to a room full of Liberal supporters — part of a campaign-style stop in the Tournament Capital that includes a town hall meeting at Thompson Rivers University.
RCMP, B.C. Sheriffs Service and security officers could be seen in the area of the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre as of 11:30 a.m.
Some protesters wore yellow vests and displayed signs in support of pipelines. Others, including apparent Tiny House Warrior members and supporters, were anti-pipeline.
Chanting protesters could be heard yelling, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Trudeau has got to go.”
Trudeau took the stage at the $300-a-plate lunch fundraiser at about 12:30 p.m., opening his remarks by describing 2018 as a “polarizing” year. He said he kept busy focussing on issues like the child health index and Canada’s new trade agreement with Mexico and the United States.
The prime minister said it’s important for Canadians to listen to each other, but acknowledged the polarized political climate. He said he expects to hear from some opponents at Wednesday’s town hall meeting at TRU.
“I’m sure we’re going to encounter some strong voices tonight,” he said.
Reports on social media indicate at least one protester had been arrested outside the venue prior to the prime minister’s arrival, though that has not been confirmed by police.
Following the lunch fundraiser, the prime minister is scheduled to meet with Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian and First Nations leaders.
Trudeau is slated to hold a town hall event at TRU on Wednesday evening. He is expected to return to the university’s campus on Thursday morning for an as-of-yet unknown announcement.