British Columbians will ask questions concerning the coast when the prime minister comes to town tomorrow.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in the Harbour City on Friday, Feb. 2, as he holds a town hall forum at the Vancouver Island University gym.
It won’t be just Nanaimoites filling the VIU gym – the visit is expect to attract people from other communities, including a busload organized by Dogwood B.C., a Victoria-based environmentalist and citizen’s rights group.
Kai Nagata, communications director for Dogwood, said he hopes for discussion about First Nations reconciliation and also about protecting B.C. coasts.
[The prime minister] is coming to Nanaimo at a really interesting time, when there are some really raw, unresolved issues around reconciliation that are very close to the surface in B.C. and relate to a lack of consent,” Nagata said.
The Dogwood spokesman suggested that the PM’s support for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project almost seems to be provoking British Columbians.
“We need to have a strategy to deal with the existing vessel traffic and derelict barges and all the rest of it before we contemplate a huge expansion of oil tanker traffic,” he said.
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Dogwood communications coordinator Christina Smethurst said in an e-mail that her organization has contacted other environmental groups.
“Our hope is to get as many Dogwood supporters inside the town hall as we can to ask questions about oil tanker expansion on our coast, but for those who don’t get the chance to register, we’ll be joining other groups like Georgia Strait Alliance, Wilderness Committee, Sierra Club B.C., Watershed Watch and STAND, and hopefully local First Nations, in a peaceful demonstration/rally,” she wrote. “Our objective for the rally is to show Prime Minister Trudeau there is strong opposition to his government forcing an unwanted oil tanker project on an unwilling province.”
Sierra Club isn’t organizing a bus, but has promoted the Nanaimo town hall.
Those wishing to attend the town hall should register in advance at http://terrybeechmp.ca and then check in at VIU’s lower cafeteria, Building 185. The event will get underway at 11 a.m. and doors will open at 9 a.m.