VANCOUVER- An Indigenous protester opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion interrupted a speech by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a Liberal fundraiser on Wednesday.
Will George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver repeatedly called Trudeau a liar and a weak leader.
“Are you going to push this pipeline through?” he asked Trudeau.
Trudeau greeted him by name and asked calmly if he could be allowed to respond before saying he understands there are strong Indigenous voices for and against the pipeline expansion.
George continued to speak, asking Trudeau what he says to his children about his actions.
“You’re a weak leader,” George said.
“Thank you, sir,” Trudeau replied. “I’ve heard you.”
George said he was honouring his ancestors and his children by protecting First Nations’ lands and waters.
“You threaten our lands and waters. How dare you bring that to our waters. Those are spiritual highways. You have no right to do that to us.”
Trudeau said the man was welcome to stay if he wanted to listen, but he was eventually ushered out of the Opus Hotel in downtown Vancouver by a manager and an RCMP officer.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the event. Activists parked a truck with a banner that read “Trudeau: No pipelines in a climate emergency.”
This isn’t the first time George has spoken out during an event with the prime minister. In January, he called Trudeau a liar during a town hall meeting in Kamloops, B.C.
Trudeau’s speech was the first of two Liberal fundraising events in Vancouver after he announced that 18 new ships will be built to renew the Canadian Coast Guard fleet at a cost of $15.7 billion.