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‘Be a man!’: Indigenous protesters assail Justin Trudeau at B.C. town hall

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“I don’t want to see your crocodile tears!”

That was one of a number of comments with which Indigenous protesters confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a town hall at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops, B.C. on Tuesday night.

WATCH: We can’t decide ‘right solution’ for First Nations people, Trudeau says






The town hall came in the same week that 14 people were arrested in the province’s northwest as they protested the construction of a natural gas pipeline by Coastal GasLink that’s a key piece of infrastructure for the LNG Canada project.

The arrests came Monday, on the same day that Mounties enforced a B.C. Supreme Court injunction requiring that any obstructions to the project be removed near a bridge on a forest service road that runs south of Houston.

Further developments came Wednesday, as hereditary chiefs with the Wet’suwet’en people said they would open a checkpoint gate they had erected at what’s known as the Unist’ot’en Camp, a longstanding structure aimed at preventing the pipeline’s construction.

WATCH: Trudeau visits B.C. amid angry pipeline protests






Trudeau largely seemed to address a friendly audience — questions included, “What’s your favourite part of your day?” — before frustrations over pipelines, and the federal government’s approach to climate change and First Nations, started to boil over.

First to assail Trudeau was Will George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

“You lied about being a climate leader. You don’t build pipelines by being a climate leader,” George said.

“You want truth and reconciliation with First Nations and you get our people arrested.”

Trudeau, who was answering a question about oil and gas emissions, asked George to “please respect” an audience member’s ability to ask a question. But George continued.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau holds town hall in Kamloops, B.C. amid dueling protests

“You’re a liar and a weak leader. What do you tell your children? Pipelines do not make climate leaders,” he said.

“I apologize to you, I’m not going to listen to your lies anymore, you’re a weak leader and a liar and you’re not welcome here.”

Trudeau later faced a question from a woman named Tilly, who identified herself as a member of the Stl’atl’imx Nation.

“What are you going to do to stop oppressing and holding our people under your colonization,” she asked.

“When are you going to give us our rights back, when are you going to start giving a s*** about who we are as people, and not just seeing us for our land?”

Trudeau responded that Canada has a “long and failed history in regards to Indigenous people,” saying it has “consistently failed as a country to live up to the spirit and intent of the treaties.”

“We have not treated Indigenous peoples as partners and stewards of this land.”

Trudeau said the federal government is focusing mainly on two areas when it comes to Indigenous peoples: services and relationships.

WATCH: Trudeau reacts to LNG protest arrests as police probe death threats






He started talking about how “too many Indigenous communities are existing under boil water advisories” when Tilly interjected.

“You are afraid to lose your comfort,” she said.

“No I’m not, Tilly,” Trudeau responded.

“I am ready to work in partnership with you and that is what we have been doing with you over the last three years.”

READ MORE: Anti-pipeline protesters descend on Ottawa, delay Trudeau appearance

The pair continued to exchange words, with Tilly saying, “I don’t want to see your crocodile tears, I don’t want to see you apologize.”

She said she wanted “amends,” that she demanded it “on behalf of my people.”

Another protester yelled out, “be a man! Be a man!”

Trudeau then said, “we need to be respectful of everyone who came out tonight to engage in this conversation.”

He went on to say that no one checked with Indigenous people when Canada’s railroads were laid down.

“Nobody checked with the people who had lived here for millennia, whether or not we could throw a railroad down in a given place,” Trudeau said.

“That is not how we will continue to do things.”

  • With files from The Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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