The prime minister faced tough questions from a disabled veteran, an Indigenous woman angry about racism and people worried about stalled oil pipelines during a town hall meeting in Edmonton Thursday.
A former soldier who lost a leg in Afghanistan was critical of Ottawa’s plan to reform some veteran’s programs, including changes to disability pensions.
“I was prepared to be killed in action,” said the man who had military medals pinned to his shirt. “What I wasn’t prepared for Mr. prime minister is Canada turning its back on me.”
Trudeau thanked the man for his service and said his frustration and anger are justifiable.
Watch below: Military veteran tells Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Edmonton town hall event that he feels like Canada turned its back on him.
He said the government is investing more in programs to help veterans throughout their lives instead of the lump sum payments under the old system.
Trudeau said that program spending must be taken into account.
“Why are we still fighting against certain veteran’s groups in court? Because they are asking for more than we are able to give right now,” Trudeau said to some shouts and boos from the crowd.
“You are asking for honest answers.”
A woman told Trudeau that Indigenous people continue to face racism and called for more action to better their lives.
The woman’s voice shook with emotion as she spoke of the media vilifying Indigenous people. She mentioned murder trials underway in Winnipeg and in Saskatchewan where the victims are Indigenous.
“Racism is alive and real right now in Canada. It is happening to Tina Fontaine’s family. It is happening to Colten Boushie’s family,” she said.
“What are you going to do for our communities because I don’t see you doing a lot, and that kind of hurts my heart.”
Watch below: ‘What are you going to do for our communities?’: Indigenous woman poses question to Justin Trudeau at town hall event in Edmonton.
The prime minister said the status quo is not acceptable.
He said his government is making progress on righting wrongs, but reconciliation is going to be a long road.
On pipelines, Trudeau faced questions from a man worried about stalled oil pipeline projects that he said are needed to help the economy and create jobs.
As the man spoke others in the crowd held up big yellow signs that read “Albertans Against Kinder Morgan” and “No Jobs On A Dead Planet.”
The prime minister told the crowd that Canada must be able to get its resources to new markets.
Watch below: ‘It’s the job of the federal government to decide what is in the national interest’: Justin Trudeau speaks about pipelines at Edmonton town hall event.
Trudeau said Canada needs the Kinder Morgan expansion project through British Columbia.
But he said it also needs a world-class plan to protect the oceans and a climate change plan to reduce carbon emissions.
“You cannot have any one of them, unless you have all three of them,” he said. “That is what this government gets and that is what we will stand up for.”
The prime minister is to hold a town hall meeting Friday in Nanaimo, B.C.