Prime Minister Justin Trudeau capped a day of protests and announcements with a question and answer session at a Coquitlam high school Wednesday.
A photo of Trudeau with Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam MP Ron McKinnon was tweeted out this afternoon after he met with students from Pinetree secondary school.
Trudeau was speaking before an audience of students at the school where he had been a substitute teacher in the late 1990s.
“It was a surprise visit to Pinetree and a complete surprise (and secret) from staff and students,” School District 43 spokesperson Ken Hoff told the Tri-City News in an email.
“Everything was at the request of the Prime Minister’s Office and they made the arrangements with only Pinetree principal Jeremy Clarke. The PM visited a couple of classrooms then held a ‘town hall’ style Q and A with students. Questions from students ranged from environmental issues to immigration to current events and Trans Mountain.”
Hoff noted that the surprise visit was “truly an amazing opportunity for students.”
No media was invited to attend the event which was part of a whirlwind tour to Metro Vancouver, which also included a fundraising event at the Opus Hotel in downtown Vancouver, where Trudeau was greeted by an Indigenous protester opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Will George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver stood up and called Trudeau a liar and a weak leader.
"I'm from Tsleil-Waututh Nation and we say no," George added. "Are you going to push this pipeline through?"
Trudeau said George was welcome to stay if he wanted to listen, but he was eventually ushered out by a manager and an RCMP officer.
Outside the hotel, dozens of protesters gathered, singing and chanting anti-pipeline slogans. Activists drove around the block in a truck with a billboard that read "Trudeau: No pipelines in a climate emergency."
Earlier in the day, Trudeau was in Vancouver to announce the construction of 18 ships under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. With an initial budget of $15.7 billion, up to 16 multipurpose ships are to be built at Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards, with another two arctic patrol ships destined to start their life at Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax. The new ships will be used as light icebreakers, offshore patrol vessels and help with search and rescue operations, according to a press release from the Prime Minister's office.
— with files from Canadian Press