Trudeau paddles kayak on Vancouver Island; meets regional and Indigenous leaders

VICTORIA — Justin Trudeau is scheduled to paddle a kayak today in British Columbia’s coastal waters as he mixes a splash of sightseeing with business gatherings with regional and Indigenous leaders on Vancouver Island.

The prime minister will take the kayak voyage at the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve just south of Victoria before heading for Tofino and the remote west coast of Vancouver Island where he will participate in local business meetings.

Trudeau spent several days this week in B.C., making stops in Revelstoke, Williams Lake, Vancouver and Victoria.

He acknowledged the efforts of firefighters in B.C.’s Interior region during a day-long visit to Williams Lake, where more than 10,000 people were recently evacuated from their homes to escape the threat of a wildfire.

Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan also took an aerial tour of the fire zone in B.C.’s central Interior on board a Canadian Forces Chinook helicopter. At times the smoke from the surrounding fires was so thick, the ground below was barely visible.

Trudeau spoke on Friday night to about 100 people gathered for a Liberal party event at a hotel in Victoria, B.C., saying the party must continue to bring forward new ideas that make Canada stronger.

“We need to be reaching out and having difficult and reasonable conversations, anchoring ourselves in evidence and facts,” he said.

Trudeau said the economy, environment and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples must become constant conversations across Canada.

“We can’t walk away from the reality of climate change,” he said.

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