KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it's “not an ideal situation” that 14 people were arrested Monday in northwestern British Columbia at a protest against construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline.

Trudeau made the comment this morning on CBC's radio program Daybreak Kamloops, prior to his visit to that city to attend a Liberal party fundraiser and a town hall gathering.

The prime minister says his government has been working on reconciliation but the dispute over the pipeline, a key part of the $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, is “still an ongoing process.”

He says it is important to “leave room for people to express their concerns,” but at the same time this is a country of the rule of law and court rulings must be respected.

Trudeau says it is important to “reduce the temperature” at the blockade site along a remote road southwest of Houston, so he will not visit the scene because “sometimes engaging that way is actually raising the political attention and the stakes.”

The prime minister's trip to Kamloops is the start of an outreach tour that will expand across the country, and he's also set to meet with the city's mayor, Ken Christian, and two Indigenous leaders.