Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make a surprise and brief visit to B.C. on Tuesday.
Trudeau’s plan is to meet with one of the most outspoken B.C. Indigenous leaders in support of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, Chief Ernie Crey of the Cheam First Nation.
Crey is co-chair of the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee, and Trudeau’s office announced Monday afternoon the Prime Minister would participate in a discussion with the committee.
Trudeau’s office said it would hold a media availability only for his opening remarks at the Cheam Multiplex just east of Chilliwack.
By 2 p.m. Trudeau will be in Sherwood Park, Alta., to visit the Kinder Morgan Edmonton Terminal South.
Crey has long touted the economic benefits of the pipeline expansion project, pointing out there is not unanimous opposition from the Indigenous community.
“Within a few short weeks we were able to turn the tide on negative reporting on the Kinder Morgan Expansion Project,” Crey posted on Facebook on Monday. “First Nations supporting the KM stepped-up and spoke out. Now the world knows that not all First Nations are anti-pipeline.”
Where the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) comes out firmly opposed to the project – going so far as to say most recently that the pipeline won’t be built no matter who owns it – Crey points out that many First Nations support the project and have signed Mutual Benefit Agreements.
Crey welcomed the news on May 28 that the federal government would buy the pipeline and the assets form Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.
“There was a promise made, and obviously it’s going to be a promise kept, that one way or another this pipeline would be built because it’s in the national interest,” Crey said.
– with files from Jennifer Feinberg