July 23, 2018 4:38 pm
Updated: August 1, 2018 1:19 am

Not welcome here? Environmental group urges boycott of Trudeau if he vacations in Tofino

A B.C. environmental group is urging businesses to boycott Prime Minister Trudeau if he vacations in Tofino this summer. Kristen Robinson has the details.


Tofino’s surf attracts tourists from all over the world – including our Prime Minister.

In August 2016, Trudeaumania hit Tofino when a shirtless Justin Trudeau accidentally photobombed a beach wedding in the west coast paradise.

READ MORE: Photo of shirtless Trudeau photobombing B.C. wedding delights internet

Last August, the Prime Minister’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, rode the waves and posted a surfing photo to Instagram – thanking her “friends and neighbours” in Tofino for a warm welcome and a peaceful stay in the “yoga, surf, kid-friendly wildlife haven!”

This summer, after Ottawa promised $4.5 billion for the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and terminal facility in Burnaby – and a minimum of $7.4 billion to build nearly 1,000 kilometres of new pipeline, the Friends of Clayoquot Sound (FOCS) group has issued an open letter to the Tofino community.

Addressed to businesses, residents, and tourists of Clayoquot Sound and the Pacific Rim, the July 19 letter states that “there are a number of ways that we can act to protect the west coast” should Trudeau visit as a tourist.

WATCH: Protesters dog prime minister during B.C. vacation

It suggests that interactions with Trudeau can be documented by photo or video and shared on social media and also states that businesses can even deny goods and services to Trudeau or refuse to serve the Prime Minister “in the political activist tradition of non-cooperation.”

“Trudeau vacation watch is about holding Justin Trudeau accountable for his continued disrespect that is putting the west coast in danger of toxic oil spills and destructive climate change,” Jeh Custerra of the Friends of Clayoquot Sound told Global News.

Custerra promised that “Trudeau can expect resistance” – but not all Tofinoites agree with the environmental group’s protest plans.

READ MORE: Canadians split right down the middle on Trans Mountain purchase: Ipsos poll

Coun. Cathy Thicke said elected officials have to make difficult decisions in public most days of their lives.

“I believe Trudeau’s private family life should be safeguarded, no matter what political view you hold,” Thicke told Global News.

“Furthermore, protest action towards federal officials while on holiday has no place in our public discourse.”

In a statement from the Tofino – Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, the board said it does not support the actions of FOCS.

“The Friends of Clayoquot Sound are valued activists and members of our community and our Chamber and enjoy the same rights as other members to express the views of their business or organization. However, the actions they have requested business members to fulfill towards the Prime Minister, his family, and his staff are not supported by the board of the Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce nor its general membership. Collectively, our members aim to provide the best West Coast experience possible and share in the inescapable beauty of the region with all who choose Tofino as their vacation getaway.

As a Chamber, we have publicly stated our stance against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project for the very reason why so many choose to visit: to protect the surrounding environment and the economy that it allows us to thrive in. That being said, we are first and foremost a welcoming and friendly business community committed to giving everyone who visits a taste of what we love about the place we call home. We firmly believe in everyone’s right to an unencumbered and undisturbed vacation to be enjoyed with family and friends.”

All but one of several people Global News questioned on the street believed the suggestion to boycott Trudeau was going too far.

Global News reached out to the prime minister’s office to see whether the FOCS letter would cause Trudeau to reconsider any vacation plans.

In response, Mackenzie Radan, the press secretary for Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi, said:

“The Trans Mountain Expansion project is in the national interest and our decision to approve it has always been based on three principles: meaningful and robust consultation and participation of Indigenous peoples, world-leading oceans protection measures, and getting our resources safely to diverse export markets while creating good, middle-class jobs for Canadians.

We approved this project after extensive and unprecedented consultations with Indigenous people — a key pillar of our interim approach. Our government is deeply committed to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and we believe in ongoing conversation and engagement throughout the lifecycle of a project. Many Indigenous communities continue to be directly involved through the co-developed Indigenous Advisory Monitoring Committee which enables them to be part of the review and monitoring of the TMX project, from beginning to end, ensuring it moves forward in the safest and most sustainable way possible.

We approved the TMX project because we know our coasts and communities will be well protected. Every consideration was taken. Protecting our oceans is essential to all Canadians, which is why we have made historic investments to protect our coasts. Our Oceans Protection Plan – a $1.5 billion dollar investment – leads the world in protection practices. It includes the largest investment in the Canadian Coast Guard in years, including the reopening of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station after it was shuttered by the Harper Conservatives – with new rescue boats and specialized response capabilities.

We know that creating a strong economy means taking real action to protect our environment. We have taken an approach to resource development that will grow our economy, create good jobs, and protect the environment at the same time. These priorities go hand-in-hand.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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