TransMountain pipeline construction in 1952. (TransMountain)

B.C., Alberta Indigenous leaders to bid for share of TransMountain pipeline

Majority share means revenue, environmental protection, B.C. chief says

Indigenous leaders are meeting in southern Alberta this week to prepare a bid on a majority interest in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline and its twinning project to the B.C. Lower Mainland.

The Indian Resource Council of Canada represents 134 first nations that have oil and gas resources. Its annual general meeting at a casino resort near Calgary begins Wednesday with an “Indigenous energy summit” to prepare a proposal for the federal government, which bought the pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion last year.

Mike LeBourdais, chief of the Whispering Pines First Nation between Kamloops and Barriere, has been travelling the right-of-way of the pipeline, completed in 1954 from northern Alberta to a terminal in Burnaby and Washington refineries. He has met with bankers, refiners and federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, and the intention is to present a bid for 51 per cent ownership of the pipeline by this spring.

“We’ve always wanted equity,” LeBourdais told NL Radio in Kamloops Monday. “When we started negotiating with Kinder Morgan when they owned this pipeline, back in 2007 when we started talking to them, equity was always part of the discussion. They said there’s no equity in the first pipe, we’ll talk about it later. So we grudgingly agreed to that.”

During a recent visit to Kamloops, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is interested in the Indigenous equity proposal, but the federal government is focused on meeting additional consultation demands from the latest court decision holding it up. LeBourdais said that could extend beyond next November’s federal election, and he wants Trudeau’s answer on a bid before that. Without participation by Indigenous investors, the project likely won’t be built, he said.

Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council, is blunt in his remarks about Ottawa’s performance and the interference of “professional environmentalists who claim to speak for us” and stage anti-pipeline demonstrations in cities.

RELATED: 33 Indigenous communities have benefit agreements

RELATED: Trudeau reassures business leaders on Trans Mountain

“The environmentalists and their supporters celebrate each time the courts put the kibosh on pipelines, such as what happened with the Federal Court of Appeal decision on Trans Mountain,” Buffalo said in his message to summit delegates. “In the meantime, our Liberal government appears clueless on a way forward. Sure, they have put together some sort of plan to address the two important issues raised by the court – Indigenous consultation and marine impact considerations – but they have failed to provide a coherent plan on how they will build the pipeline they now own.”

The Indian Resource Council also denounces Bill C-69, the Trudeau government’s pending legislation that would add more hurdles to pipeline construction such as downstream greenhouse gas and even gender impacts of resource development.

That legislation and other restrictions depressing the price of Alberta oil will cost every family in the Kainai Nation of Southern Alberta about $1,400 a year, Kainai Chief Roy Fox wrote in a recent letter to Trudeau.

LeBourdais says the equity stake isn’t just about revenues for impoverished Indigenous communities, it also guarantees a real say in environmental oversight of projects like TransMountain.

The B.C. government made a similar agreement on environmental monitoring with Indigenous communities with ocean-based salmon farms in their territory off the north end of Vancouver Island.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureTransMountain

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nelson’s SMRT1 Technologies to provide vending tech to Vancouver company

UpMeals will launch 22 machines across Canada using SMRT1’s personalized machines

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Person steals sound system, Ipad from Rossland restaurant

Mook Thai Lounge staff have had to buy a new sound system at a cost of $700

UPDATE: Search effort underway for Slocan River drowning victim

The man was swimming near Winlaw on Wednesday.

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Fruitvale

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Creston Valley Hospital addresses COVID-19 rumours regarding farms

‘Not one seasonal worker in Creston has tested positive for COVID-19,’ said Dr. Nerine Kleinhans

T-Rex earns big bids at B.C. dino auction

Over 500 dino-themed lots sold to buyers from across North America

Most Read