Booking Justin Trudeau

One of my roles at Newstalk 980 CKNW, is to be the station’s point-of-contact to The Prime Minster’s Office of Canada.

It took many months of negotiation, but I finally managed to book Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and have him come into the studio and chat with our host Lynda Steele. As Trudeau has become such a well known figure worldwide, this was a rare opportunity to sit down with him and have him answer some tough questions on a range of different topics.

Here is how that interview went…

Kinder Morgan

Trudeau said that he is going to talk to British Columbians troubled by his approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, listen to their concerns, and figure out a way to move forward, together.

“We have a plan to reduce our carbon emissions and the pipelines are part of that plan. If they’re concerned about orca’s in the oceans, I will talk about the world leading response and science we’re doing on protecting orcas.”

Listen to the full interview HERE

Some first nations, environmentalists and Metro Vancouver mayors are vowing to fight the expansion of the pipeline, saying the possible environmental risk in the event of a spill or tanker accident isn’t worth the potential financial benefit.

Protestors are vowing to fight Trudeau’s decision to allow for the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby.

They say the risk is not worth the potential reward.

Trudeau’s was asked how he’ll play it if people chain themselves to trees and stage other forms of civil disobedience.

He said he will listen to their concerns.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sits opposite Lynda Steele

“We have processes, we have the rule of law in this country, we have a democracy where people can express their opinions. This is how Canada works. We have a range of opinions and we figure out how to move forward, together.”


Opioid crisis

Trudeau said that his government is doing what it can to combat the fentanyl crisis that is sweeping across the country.

In B.C. alone, more than 750 people have died so far this year – that’s up from 443 last year.

He said it’s a challenging problem that has spread well beyond challenged communities such as the Downtown Eastside.

He said that he spoke with BC Chief Medical Health officer Dr. Perry Kendall earlier in the day.

“We’re working to make it easier for harm reduction sites to open up; we’re empowering first responders, we have given powers to the ministers to declare new iterations of this and control them more quickly.”

Trudeau said that it’s a complex problem that needs a sophisticated response.

Marijuana legalization

When asked about his position on marijuana, Trudeau said that legalization is important for two reasons.

“First one is, the current approach to marijuana makes it too easy for our kids to buy it. Any kid in any high school can get a joint, way easier than they can get a bottle of beer for example. That;s not right, we need to control and regulate the sales of marijuana so that underage people have a hard time buying it.”

Secondly, he said Canada needs to stop the black market, criminal organizations and street gangs from profiting off that.

“These dispensaries don’t do anything about preventing kids from having access to it, don’t prevent anything from the black market that exists underneath it. We need to control and regulate it.”

He said that underage use of marijuana is when it’s most dangerous to people, adding the legal age to smoke pot should be the same as the drinking age.

Cash for access 

Trudeau said that cash for access fundraisers don’t break any government rules, despite the critical reception they’ve had from a portion of Canadians.

He said that the rules are in fact tougher in Canada than anywhere else, and fundraising is part of a functional political system.

But when asked why not change the rules instead? He said ending it wouldn’t make a lot of sense.

“Then you would have a political system that wouldn’t function. I mean political parties are a volunteer-based organization that have to rent rooms.”

Trudeau said that his government’s transparency should ease Canadians minds on the issue.