Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline is unloaded in Edson, Alta. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

Trans Mountain bid could be ready next week, Indigenous group says

Project Reconciliation wants to buy a 51-per-cent stake in the pipeline from the federal government

An Indigenous-led group says it will soon be ready to make a bid for majority ownership of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline currently owned by the federal government.

The group, called Project Reconciliation, says it will be prepared as early as next week to talk with Ottawa about its proposal for a 51 per cent stake in the pipeline.

Project Reconciliation says the bid will be underwritten by contracts with pipeline customers and not rely on taxpayers.

The group says almost 340 Indigenous communities across B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan could choose to share ownership of the pipeline, which is designed to ship crude oil from the oilsands to the West Coast.

“There’s real momentum towards Indigenous ownership,” said Delbert Wapass, founder and executive chair of Project Reconciliation in a statement.

“It’s exciting to see support is growing in governments and among Indigenous people. There is a pipeline to reconciliation and we should take it.”

Project Reconciliation says it plans to set aside 80 per cent of future proceeds from the pipeline into a type of sovereign wealth fund to ensure longer-term benefits for Indigenous communities in Western Canada.

A separate Indigenous-led group called the Iron Coalition is looking to secure ownership of the pipeline for First Nations and Metis communities in Alberta. The group says it would distribute proceeds to member communities based on ownership share and population.

The government says it is open to Indigenous ownership of the project and will host discussions in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton and Kamloops, B.C. later this month with Indigenous groups to further discussions on potential participation in the economic development of the project.

Ottawa reapproved the pipeline last month after its initial go-ahead was quashed by the Federal Court of Appeal over incomplete Indigenous consultations and a faulty environmental review. The government bought the pipeline for $4.5 billion last year in an effort to keep the expansion project alive.

The project has support from some Indigenous groups along the route, but faces intense opposition from others, especially on the coast.

In May, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs warned First Nations in an open letter that they should reconsider investing in the pipeline because it faces many hurdles, including Indigenous land claims, and it is unlikely to be as profitable as the government says.

Chief Leah George-Wilson of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation said after the most recent approval that it will appeal Ottawa’s decision to the Federal Court of Appeal.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Taking action to reduce wildfire risks in Columbia Basin

Trust provides over $1 million to address wildfire risks

Missing Slocan City man found dead

Douglas Morrison went missing in mid-January

Stroke survivors lean on each other in Nelson

‘I’ve learned more about strokes from being in the group than I did from anyone else’

Rossland rookie councillors offer advice to prospective candidates

Something to read before you decide to run in the upcoming by-election

Organic waste pick-up expected by 2022 in RDCK

But there are many unanswered questions in Nelson about cost and details

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

One dead in multi-vehicle collision involving logging truck on northern B.C. highway

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

Most Read