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

Just Posted

Forest fire 1.5 km from Sara Lake listed as out of control

While the fire is classified as out of control, they expect it to be under control imminently.

Port Hardy casting call

This is a paid gig $400 per person for the day.

62.5 pounder caught off north of Port Hardy

“It was a team effort to land this 62.5 lb fish”

20th annual OrcaFest takes over Port McNeill

Check out the North Island Gazette’s OrcaFest photo gallery!

Oh Yeah takes a bite out of Woodchuckers at OrcaFest slo-pitch tournament in Port McNeill

Oh Yeah defeated the Woodchuckers 21-10 after seven innings.

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Families want Island Health to take over seniors home

Letter campaign points out longstanding issues at the Comox Valley residence

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read