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

Four more arrested in Ponoka RCMP battle against drugs

Several individuals known to police facing more charges

Ponoka Police Advisory Committee information night sees good turnout

Information night was held Jan. 20 in town council chambers

2019 Ponoka Festival of Trees meets $100,000 goal

Ponoka hospital will begin purchasing heart monitoring cubes

Supporting a friend with mental health issues

AHS: Do you have a friend who just doesn’t seem to be their usual self?

PHOTOS: Ponoka Curling Club hosts Alberta Junior Curling Tour Event

The Ponoka Curling Club hosted its first-ever Alberta Junior Curling Tour Event… Continue reading

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

UPDATE: Sylvan Lake RCMP say missing female located

19-year-old Alyssa Manderville was last seen in Blackfalds on Jan. 26

Ryan Jake Applegarth, 27, charged with First Degree Murder

RCMP Major Crimes Unit seeking male wanted on first degree murder charge

Watch out for scams, clickbait in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death: Better Business Bureau

Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles

Despite reports of decline, birds flocking to national parks in Canadian Rockies

Recent studies suggest overall bird population has slid by three billion since 1970

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Majority of Canadian boards had no female members in 2016 and 2017: StatCan

Statistics Canada says 18.1 per cent of director seats were held by women in 2017

VAUGHAN: Childhood heroes like Kobe are supposed to be immortal

Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash that claimed the lives of nine people

Most Read