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Premier defends forests minister over visit with LNG pipeline protesters

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Premier John Horgan is passionately defending one of his cabinet ministers for visiting with protesters trying to block the construction of a natural gas pipeline in Northern B.C. near Smithers.

RELATED: ‘No quick fix’: John Horgan weighs in as anti-LNG protests continue

Horgan says, as the local MLA, forests minister Doug Donaldson visited the camp before a court order was enforced.

“He was invited. He attended the camp. These are lifetime friends and acquaintances of his. He observed protocols, brought a gift –which is the protocol in the territory,” he said. “He heard the concerns that were expressed and he left.”

The B.C. Liberals have been demanding Donaldson’s resignation.

They say his visit before Mounties moved in to arrest 14 protesters on Monday was inappropriate, but Horgan is applauding his actions.

“I believe, if we’re going to find a solution, you need to have dialogue, and who better than the local MLA to be there before the RCMP enforce the order to hear one last time what the concerns were,” he said.

RELATED: Protesters block Vancouver traffic in solidarity of anti-LNG protesters

Speaking in Victoria, Horgan also defended peaceful opponents of the $6.2-billion pipeline linking Dawson Creek with Kitimat.

He says they have the right to protest, but anyone breaking the law must also be prepared to get arrested.

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