WATCH: The federal Liberals are holding a cabinet retreat in an area where the party hasn’t won a seat since 1940. And while they’ll be planning strategy for the upcoming parliamentary session in Ottawa, protestors have their own issues they hope to push front and centre. Kendall Hanson reports.
There is heavy security around the Vancouver Island Convention Centre where the country’s most powerful politicians arrived on Tuesday for the federal Liberal cabinet retreat.
While in Nanaimo, politicians may get an earful from protestors.
“This is continuing the tradition that we have here on the island of highlighting the deep, deep opposition to Trudeau’s plans to push through Kinder Morgan,” Terrence Coste of the Wilderness Committee, said.
Last time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a public appearance in Nanaimo for a town hall, he heard from people with many concerns, including those opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
“I think the days of him or his cabinet coming to Vancouver Island and not hearing that opposition are long gone,” Coste said.
Former federal Liberal candidate for Nanaimo Ladysmith Tim Tessier said there is political motivation for holding a cabinet meeting in the area as the party would like to win some seats on Vancouver Island in the next election.
“I do believe the Liberals recognize the opportunity to get that exposure on the island but I also recognize the other parties,” Tessier said.
NDP MLA Sheila Malcomson said while she did not receive a heads up about the cabinet meeting, she doesn’t feel threatened.
“This riding has never been Liberal and it’s flip-flopped between conservative and New Democrat for decades and I won by six-and-a-half thousand votes,” Malcomson said.
She sees it as a positive to have the governing Liberals in the city to see and hear local concerns.
“The Trudeau Liberals are coming at a really interesting time for Nanaimo. We’ve got an affordable housing emergency, we’ve got a climate change wildfire emergency and everybody’s talking about pipelines and threats to [the] orca so i really hope they have their ears wide open,” Malcomson said.
Protests regarding the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the Pheonix pay system are planned for tomorrow outside the convention centre.