author: kristian ferguson | news editor
Trudeau is first PM since Pearson to visit
On Jan. 26, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a visit to the University of Regina as part of his Canada-wide tour. Even though Trudeau is the first Prime Minister since Lester Pearson to visit the university, that does not mean that he was immune to critique or protest.
Trudeau only had a brief stint in Regina, stopping at the RCMP Depot to visit new recruits and cadets and visiting local restaurant, Nicky’s Café, before doing a walkthrough and meet and greet with university students.
Trudeau’s visit largely consisted of a slow walk, surrounded by security and police, from the front doors of the Riddell Centre before leaving at the doors between College West and RIC. During this time, Trudeau shook hands, said hello, and most notably, took selfies with students.
Trudeau was met with a few separate groups of protestors, all protesting the same thing. The protestors were upset with Trudeau’s stance on pipelines in most recent memory, most notably his approval of the Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3. The Kinder Morgan pipeline was the topic that all of the protestors seemed to have on their minds.
The Trans Mountain pipeline, as reported by the CBC, is looking to “triple the capacity of an existing pipeline to 890,000 barrels per day.”
With a whole litany of pipeline breaks and failures in the media recently, including one on the Ocean Man First Nation territory, many concerns were raised by protestors about the hazards posed by these breaks and pipelines.
There were also concerns about the new pipelines potentially passing through or into other First Nations territories, relating concerns to the recent Standing Rock and Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota.
While Trudeau didn’t have much time to stop and talk directly with protestors – or anyone for that matter – for an extended period of time, he did hold town hall style discussions with people in Saskatoon and Winnipeg who echoed many of the sentiments shared by protestors.
While some may have found the protestors to be inappropriate or not expressing themselves at the right time, U of R President Vianne Timmons welcomed protests and Trudeau detractors saying, as reported by Global News, “university is about protest. I would’ve been disappointed if we didn’t have a protest on our campus.”
Trudeau’s visit to Regina was definitely short, but left a lasting impression not only on the university’s history, but on the student body as well.