Well-wishers greeted the Prime Minister and his wife as they arrives at Sidney Spit. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Prime Minister paddles at Sidney Spit during B.C. trip

Justin Trudeau addresses the wildfires, environment during brief visit to Gulf Islands National Park

There was a little bit of everything for visitors to Sidney Spit on Saturday. Good weather, excellent scenery, great people … and one Canadian Prime Minister.

Justin Trudeau made a brief visit to the Gulf Islands National Park with with wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, during their current visit to B.C. After a short boat ride over to Sidney Spit, and after a few selfies, Trudeau and Gregoire Trudeau hopped into some kayaks for a paddle along the spit. The paddle wasn’t without incident, however.

Trudeau acknowledged his spill onto the Salish Sea with reporters later (he missed his kayak entry) and spent some time with a bride and groom, Michelle and Heiner Gruetzner of Sidney, who were moored in the park. They quickly motored over to Trudeau and Gregoire, shared a few words and took a lot of pictures.

“They congratulated us,” Heinar said. “And she got a couple kisses.”

“We saw the boat coming in and were ready,” Michelle added.

After their quick paddle, Trudeau and his wife returned to the beach for a quick question and answer session with media awaiting their arrival.

“It’s a good day to be out on the water, a great day to be in the water,” Trudeau joked about his spill. “I can report the water is definitely wet. I’m just happy the national media was there to capture that.”

Gregoire Trudeau, who is the honourary guide for families with Parks Canada, says any time people are enjoying the great outdoors is a chance to be grounded and connected.

“We are really happy to be here and meet families that are enjoying the summer,” she said.

Asked about the proposal for a marine conservation area for the Salish Sea, Trudeau said the government is working on a plan for 2020.

“This is a natural place to make sure we’re protecting it for future generations,” he said, adding later during a related question, “I have been a grandson of B.C. all my life. Canadians understand, we need to grow the economy in a way that protects the environment.”

Trudeau also repeated his government’s commitment to the people displaced by the wildfires in B.C. this summer.

“As I’ve said the whole way through, we will be there as a federal government … to support families and businesses affected.”

Trudeau also addressed questions about the Trans Mountain Pipleline project, the state of the government in Venezuela and immigration and asylum-seekers crossing into Canada from the U.S.

Following his visit to Sidney Spit, Trudeau was expected to travel to Tofino, to take part in a regional round table with local First Nations leaders.

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Parks staff react as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau misses his mark and experiences the Salish Sea first hand. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Justin Trudeau holds a baby as family snap photos. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

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