THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – A capacity crowd filled the Thunderdome for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this evening in Thunder Bay. This was the Prime Minister’s second visit to Thunder Bay since he was elected three years ago.
The town hall meeting opened to questions from people selected randomly from the audience. The mainly friendly audience at the Townhall had lined up to go through the LU Fieldhouse, where all coats and bags were checked and then through the tunnel into the Thunderdome for the evening’s event.
In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister thanked Thunder Bay Rainy-River MP Don Rusnak who recently announced he is not seeking re-election. He also praised Patty Hajdu his Minister of Labour.
Questions ranged from the environment with a question asking the Prime Minister to pass legislation on food waste and requiring grocery stores to not waste food.
Lakehead University Engineering students asked a question on the C-35 Fighter Jet program and on increased Canadian content. The Prime Minister stated that the bidding process is still open and there are efforts to make
SNC Lavalin was the topic of two questions. The Prime Minister invested significant time to offer his insights into answering the question raised. The PM said that he disagrees with the opinion expressed by his former Attorney General.
Climate change was a factor with an LU Masters student and other audience members.
Challenged by one questioner that “Leaders don’t purchase pipelines”, the Prime Minister stated, “As long as the economy remains reliant upon fossil fuels, the government needs to ensure that Canadian oil can be sold at a fair price.”
Alberta oil, Western Canadian Select is selling well below the world benchmark price for a barrel of crude oil.
Trudeau told the audience that, “Since we do have oil resources, the choices are putting them on tanker trucks, putting it on trains or putting it in a modern pipeline. Pipelines remain the safest way to export our oil resources.”
The Prime Minister several times in what often was like a campaign rally made serious reference to the differences between the Liberals and the Conservatives. Interestingly he made no references through the night to the New Democrats.
“Climate change is real, and it is a massive challenge”, said the Prime Minister.
“Governments including Liberal governments have been very good at setting targets for climate change reductions,” stated the Prime Minister.
“We only have about a dozen years said the Prime Minister. “There is no question we have to act.”
Quite frankly what the targets are is important. The first and most important step is to start meeting those targets”.
The PM hit at the Ford Government over the Premier’s statements on climate change.
Trudeau pointed to the carbon tax in British Columbia, which he stated has one of Canada’s strongest economies. He then pointed to the cap and trade program in Quebec, before going after the Ford Government in Ontario for challenging Ottawa on the carbon tax.
Repeatedly the Prime Minister stated it is wrong to allow pollution to be “free”.
The Prime Minister said that we have to do more to get the best possible price for our energy, and since we do have energy resources – we have to decide what approach we can take with our oil resources.
“There are people out there who believe there is a choice between the economy and the environment”
Trudeau says that while there is world demand for fossil fuels that Canada must use our resource wealth to help fund the development of next and greener technologies.
Asked about improving the highways in Northwestern Ontario, the Prime Minister said that changing the conditions are coming.
Trudeau says that the Ontario government isn’t stepping up to give the federal government the areas where they want infrastructure spending.
The Town Hall meeting ended after about two hours with the Prime Minister taking seventeen questions from the audience.