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Prime minister meets with officials from Kamloops, local First Nations and more

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau focused on cooperation to fight wildfires today (May 21) in remarks at Kamloops City Hall during a meeting with leaders from all levels of government.

"One of the impacts of the extreme weather events that are more frequent because of climate change is that we're going to have to be doing our very best to minimize the impacts and to maximize the help and working relationships," he said to the group and media. "This (meeting) is an opportunity for us to come together, talk about what the forecast is for this coming summer and make sure that we all work even better together than we have in the past."

The meeting included a variety of notable political figures along with members of different agencies that deal with wildfire response and impacts.

Mayor Ken Christian, three federal cabinet ministers (Minister of Digital Government Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Jonathan Wilkinson and Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility Carla Qualtrough — all three from B.C. — Canadian Red Cross president Conrad Sauvé, provincial Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tsilhqot'in National Government and Grand Chief Edward John of the Tl'azt'en Nation were some of those around the main table, but not all. Additional representatives, like those from the B.C. Wildfire Service, were also in attendance.

"One of the big messages from 2017 was how important it was to make sure we were partnering properly with indigenous communities," Trudeau said during his remarks, which were the only part of the meeting media was in attendance for.

In that vein, he highlighted a tripartite agreement with Alphonse and the Tsilhqot'in along with the provincial government, the first of its kind.

"I'm hoping what we were able to do here going to spread not just to other indigenous communities across B.C., but indeed right across the country," he said.

He added the threat of wildfires is a growing issue due to climate change.

"This is something that we unfortunately know: that communities, families, first responders are going to have challenges ahead of them that are going to come more and more regularly," he said.

This is the second time Trudeau has come to Kamloops this year, following his three-day trip in January. This trip appears to be shorter, with one more event planned today (Terry Lake's nomination event). He has events planned in other cities tomorrow.


Brendan Kergin

About the Author: Brendan Kergin

Brendan Kergin is a digital reporter based in Kamloops.
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