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  • Protesters from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation demonstrate against the proposed expansion to the TransMountain Pipeline in British Colombia.

    Protesters from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation demonstrate against the proposed expansion to the TransMountain Pipeline in British Colombia. | Photo: @protecttheinlet

Published 23 May 2019

Indigenous activist called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a "liar" for claiming to take action on climate change while expanding pipelines.

An Indigenous leader from Canada called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a "liar" and a "weak leader" at a Liberal Party fundraiser in Vancouver Wednesday, calling out the political leader for promoting oil extraction in the country while claiming to be a climate change advocate.

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Trudeau was speaking at a Liberal Party fundraiser in Vancouver when Will George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver confronted him with questions about the government’s plan to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline.

He asked whether Trudeau plans to push the pipeline project through.

"You're a liar and you're a weak leader," George said. "Climate leaders don't build pipelines. We say no. No means no."

Trudeau was giving a speech at the event about the necessity of “real action” on climate change when George questioned him.

George is a member of Protect the Inlet, an advocacy group iniated by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in what is now referred to as Vancouver, against the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion by its owner, Kinder Morgan.

“Our waters, those are our spiritual highways. You have no right to do that to us,” said George.

Trudeau has advocated for Canadian competion with U.S. oil companies saying the government would build pipelines “right away.”

The pipeline, a purchase of US$4.5 billion approved by the Canadian government last August, was immediately shut down by Canada's First Court of Appeal, deciding the government failed to effectively consult First Nations groups or assess the environmental impact of the expansion.

The original Trans Mountain line has already registered 81 oil spills since 1961.

“As long as Justin Trudeau continues to come to BC and sell his dirty pipeline, I’ll be here to tell him that he will be met with fierce opposition. He sells his story of truth and reconciliation and tells the world that he wants to be a climate leader while buying a diluted bitumen pipeline,” said George at the event.

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After being questioned by the Tsleil-Waututh leader, Trudeau said that he was also concerned about the environment, and hence his government is planning a “world-class” ocean protection plan with the partnership of Indigenous communities.

George was removed from the room a while after confronting the prime minister.

He later told the reporters that Trudeau has “directly threatened our body of water here. It's important for me to go in there in these rooms and tell him he's not welcome here and neither is this pipeline.”

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