While on his visit to Kamloops today (Jan. 9), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent a short time meeting with Mayor Ken Christian to discuss issues with federal and local connections.
While brief, the meeting was able to touch on three topics the mayor had highlighted in interviews with the media yesterday: railways, infrastructure related to climate change and homelessness programs.
"He was quite well-briefed I found," Christian tells KamloopsMatters. "It speaks to the thoroughness of the operation of the Office of the Prime Minister."
On the topic of railways, Christian says he spoke about the impact increasing rail traffic is having.
"We have, I think in total now 55 trains a day through Kamloops and they're getting longer and they're getting slower and they're blocking our 25 level crossings," he says. "That's affecting commerce and that's affecting safety and I think I impressed upon the prime minister that that's an issue we'd like to see Transport Canada help us with."
"It shouldn't be something that we have to fix on the backs of the taxpayer."
He also brought up federal assistance as extreme weather becomes more common in Kamloops.
"I had a chance to speak to him about infrastructure in terms of things like storm sewers and the kinds of problems we're having related to climate change," he says.
The mayor also thanked the prime minister for the federal contributions in regards to Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy and pushed for the renewal of the program.
During a photo op with local and national media Trudeau congratulated Christian on his recent victory in the municipal election and said he was excited to work together on infrastructure. Christian commented he appreciated Trudeau's time and the opportunity to bring up municipal issues with the federal leader.
The mayor also took Trudeau a gift fitting with Kamloops' status as the Tournament Capital of Canada.
"I gave the prime minister a new gym bag from the City of Kamloops and a water bottle for him and his wife Sophie," he tells KamloopsMatters. "They both are quite active and we thought that would be an appropriate gift for them."
#Kamloops Mayor @ken_kchristian and Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau just met. Trudeau will be meeting with Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Roseanne Casimir and Skeetchestn Indian Band Chief Ronald Ignace in 2 more separate meetings this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/jx5CP059dr— Brendan Kergin ✒️ (@BKergin) January 9, 2019
Trudeau's afternoon includes meetings with Chief of Skeetchestn Indian Band Dr. Ronald E. Ignace and Chief of Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Roseanne Casimir.
This evening he'll be attending a free townhall-style event at TRU open to the public.