PM joins thousands in Chinatown to celebrate Year of the Rooster

January 29, 2017

By Vancouver Sun |

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau smiled and waved during his latest visit to Vancouver, but didn’t stop to answer questions on a number of issues facing Canadians.

Trudeau joined the city’s Lunar New Year celebrations Sunday, participating in a blessing ceremony before a traditional lion dance, then leading a parade through Vancouver’s historic Chinatown.

Steady rain pelted the marchers and kept crowds along the route thin, but Trudeau continued smiling, waving and wishing the hundreds of onlookers a happy new year. He did not answer questions that reporters shouted to him along the parade route.

He left questions about a controversial American travel ban on citizens from seven countries to his immigration minister who held a news conference in Ottawa Sunday.

The prime minister’s visit follows a string of town hall meetings in communities across the country. British Columbia was noticeably absent from the tour.

Trudeau last visited the province in December following the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that will triple the capacity of an existing pipeline that runs from near Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. It will increase tanker traffic seven-fold within the densely populated Burrard Inlet.

Trudeau downplayed questions about lengthy protests related the project when meeting with local media last month.

He said some people will disagree with the decision to approve the project and expressing that disagreement is part of the democratic process.

But he also defended the approval, saying, “We need to both protect the environment and build a stronger economy at the same time.”

Aaron Sam, Chief of the Lower Nicola Indian Band near Merritt, says Trudeau should hold public discussions in B.C.

The Trans Mountain pipeline crosses through the band’s territory and members will be voting next month whether they should approve an agreement with Kinder Morgan.

Like much of the country, Sam says attitudes toward the pipeline are varied in his community.

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