OTTAWA — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government will fund environmental activists opposing the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil pipeline because he supports “the right of Canadians to express themselves” on Wednesday.
Trudeau made the statement in the House of Commons during the afternoon Question Period. He was asked why the Dogwood Initiative was getting money from the Canada Summer Jobs program to hire seasonal labor that will try to block a pipeline that Trudeau says he wants built.
But Trudeau’s response didn’t wash with official opposition Conservative leader Andrew Scheer who wondered why Trudeau’s strong support for free speech didn’t extend to the faith groups who are denied the same jobs funding because they refuse to support the Liberal government’s abortion on demand policy.
“There is nobody who believes that the Prime Minister is committed to free speech when he punishes all those in this country who do not agree with his personal point of view,” said Scheer, who noted that Dogwood Initiative is getting government money to “block a project in the national interest.”
Conservative immigration critic and Calgary Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel posted the funding documents and expressed disbelief in a Wednesday night tweet:
LOOK AT THIS. Justin Trudeau gave your tax dollars to fund a Canada Summer Jobs position to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Yes to protesters, no to camp councillors. UNREAL. pic.twitter.com/yONqZXe1q2
— Michelle Rempel (@MichelleRempel) April 25, 2018
Trudeau insisted he was a staunch defender of free speech — even as he again expressed his belief that pro-life groups should not receive the government funding because they won’t abandon their beliefs.
“The commitment that this government has made to stand up and defend reproductive rights and the rights of women at every single opportunity is one that sticks in their craw,” he said. “We will not apologize for ensuring that women’s rights are protected across this country.”