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Trudeau faces rowdy crowd of anti-Kinder Morgan pipeline hecklers at B.C. town hall

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a spirited defence of his decision to approve the Kinder Morgan pipeline during the final — and at times rowdy — town hall meeting of his cross-country tour today in Nanaimo, B.C.

The defence began when an elderly woman asked Trudeau to “please, please please” stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion from bringing more oil from Alberta to the B.C. coast.

As Trudeau attempted to defend his ideas about protecting the environment while growing the economy, he was shouted down a number of activists. Three of them had to be removed by police after the local First Nation chief and Trudeau failed to talk them down.

Nearly 30 minutes after the question was asked, Trudeau was finally able to answer.

“We wanted a national carbon reduction plan, a national emissions plan that is going to allow us to reach our climate goals, to reach our Paris commitments but in order to do that, part of moving forward is approving the Kinder Morgan pipeline,” Trudeau said. “It is something many people feel very strongly about on either side, but that is the nature of the compromise we had to make in the best interests of Canada.”

Trudeau was greeted by a chorus of boos — and slightly louder cheers of welcome — as he walked into the room.

Trudeau was forced to address a man in the crowd sitting in the second row who persistently interrupted him during his introduction with shouts of “liar” and “you talk too much.”

Trudeau eventually asked the crowd for a show of hands on whether the man should get to ask a question. They voted no. “The crowd has spoken,” Trudeau said. He was subsequently removed by police.

PM Trudeau faces raucous crowd at Nanaimo town hall1:04

Walking away from NAFTA

Trudeau also was asked about the NAFTA negotiations and potential changes to the deal, giving the prime minister an opening to talk tough on the trade file.

“Canada is willing to walk away from NAFTA if the United States proposes a bad deal,” Trudeau said. “We will not be pushed around.

“At the same time, we have to remain confident about NAFTA because, regardless of perceptions in the United States, NAFTA has been really good for the U.S. and good for workers, it’s been good for Canada and cancelling it would be extremely harmful and disruptive to people in the United States, as it would be in Canada.”

Trudeau said Canada would continue to negotiate with the U.S. and Mexico “in good faith” and hope to strike a deal that’s good for all three nations.

Trudeau’s town hall tour has seen him host events in the Halifax suburb of Lower Sackville, N.S., as well as London, Ont., Hamilton, Quebec City, Winnipeg and Edmonton.

Watch the full town hall in the player below:

CBC | Politics News