May 24, 2019 6:59 pm

Prime Minister hears NS praise on environmental spending, as protesters arrested

REUTERS/Charles Platiau
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received praise and drew protests today for his government’s environmental policies as he met with one of the country’s two remaining Liberal premiers.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil thanked Trudeau for providing “a good start” to the costs of cleaning up a lagoon near Pictou Landing First Nation where decades of contaminated pulp mill waste has accumulated.

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The gratitude came as the two prepared to hold talks at an Antigonish community centre and the day after Ottawa pledged to spend $100 million to help clean up one of Nova Scotia’s most polluted sites.

READ MORE: Trudeau scheduled for two meetings with Liberals in N.S.

The Boat Harbour lagoons near the Pictou Landing First Nation are contaminated with millions of litres of treated waste water from the nearby Northern Pulp kraft pulp mill.

The federal money will be used to restore the lagoons to their natural state as a tidal estuary that empties into the Northumberland Strait.

However, outside the meeting, a group of about a dozen protesters made clear that they’re dissatisfied with the Trudeau government’s measures to reduce carbon emissions – and its support of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.

READ MORE: Trudeau pledges billions for new coast guard fleet but mum on how he plans to circumvent delays

Two members of the Extinction Rebellion direct action group were arrested for blocking traffic, saying as they were led away that carbon taxes introduced by the Trudeau government aren’t going far enough in efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

As he was assisted into a police vehicle, Patrick Yancey said, “I’m being arrested for refusing to move out of the way here, because we’ve tried everything else and we need the politicians to listen and get the climate targets in line with 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.”

READ MORE: ‘No right to do that to us’: Indigenous protester interrupts Trudeau speech in Vancouver

A report last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, concluded that while it’s technically possible to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, it is highly unlikely.

The report says achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement Canada signed onto would require a dramatic overhaul of the global economy, including a shift away from fossil fuels.

Yancey’s wife, Moraig MacGillivray, 40, said it was the second time her husband has been arrested and she expected he’d be released before long.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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