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)

Federal environment minister faces protesters in B.C.

Catherine McKenna defended her government’s environmental record during a funding announcement in Victoria

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

BREAKING: Protesters block access to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal

Motorists unable to access 7 a.m. sailing

Esquimalt explores creating portage beach for choppy Gorge waters

The portage beach would add safety to the Victoria Waterways Loop

Decline of Canadian manufacturing hurts men, according to new study

A five per cent drop in manufacturing drops the weekly wages of men by at least 6.9 per cent

Number of U-Hauls entering Victoria plummeted in 2019

Data compiled from two million one-way U-Haul transactions

Organizers seek input for long-awaited Oaklands community garden

Oswald Park Community Garden Design Workshop coming up on Jan. 19

Itska back in owner’s arms after Island man returns dog taken from Tofino

Shannon Boothman reunited with lost dog Itska on Sunday

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read