Minister of Finance Bill Morneau speaks at a Economic Club breakfast in Calgary, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

VIDEO: Ottawa launches consultations on Indigenous ownership of Trans Mountain pipeline

Up to 129 communities will be consulted over the next weeks

The federal government is launching a new set of consultations with Indigenous groups that will determine if and how they might take part in ownership of the Trans Mountain pipeline and its expansion project, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Monday.

Up to 129 communities will be consulted over the next weeks to ensure they have a chance for “meaningful economic participation” in the Ottawa-owned pipeline, the minister said at an event in Calgary.

“This next step will be focused on different models of economic participation such as equity-based or revenue-sharing options and will seek to build momentum towards a widely acceptable option for the groups that we’re consulting with,” he said.

“We’ll also explore whether the participating communities are willing to work together, either through an existing entity or a new one.”

Several Indigenous groups have expressed interest in buying a stake in the pipeline but the government hasn’t said when it plans to sell it.

As long as Trans Mountain is operated as a commercial enterprise, the industry will be supportive of its sale, said Chris Bloomer, CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, after listening to the speech.

“Anything that facilitates participation meaningfully with First Nations in these projects is a welcome thing. Having a deliberate approach to it, I think, is good,” he said.

In his speech, Morneau said he sympathizes with Albertans who have lost jobs because of an economy hit by a capital investment slide and discount prices for oil and gas as export capacity fails to keep up with gains in production.

The novel coronavirus is also having a negative impact on Canada’s economy, he said, pointing out oil prices are down by about 15 per cent because of the spread of the illness, a result that hits the West harder than the rest of the country.

A Federal Court of Appeal ruling last week that set aside a challenge of the Trans Mountain expansion project by four B.C. First Nations is important for the western Canadian economy, he said.

The court found that the government had met its duty to consult, thus clearing one of the last major hurdles for construction to continue on the conduit from the Alberta oilsands and refining hub in Edmonton to the B.C. coast.

READ MORE: ‘People are starting to wake up’: Pipeline protesters expect long-term change

The federal government will earn a return on its investment when it sells Trans Mountain, Morneau added, despite the release last week of a new construction cost estimate for its expansion of $12.6 billion, an increase of 70 per cent over the previous forecast of $7.4 billion.

“We believe this new estimate is realistic and we remain confident that when it’s the appropriate time to sell, we will see a profit on this investment,” Morneau said.

The government expects to earn $500 million a year in taxes from Trans Mountain after the expansion begins operating, he added.

READ MORE: Trans Mountain pipeline expansion cost jumps 70% to $12.6 billion

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Trans Mountain pipeline

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

Just Posted

Port McNeill council roundup: Feb. 11 meeting

Various stories from Port McNeill council’s Feb. 11 meeting.

Forestry workers vote for new agreement, ending 8-month strike on Vancouver Island

Wage increases, higher premiums and contract language part of new agreement

REVIEW: Poetry helps Conshinz heal from brain trauma

The Book of 1000 Poems, Volumes 1-4, by Conshinz, a.k.a. Port Alice… Continue reading

Meet the new owner of the Scarlet Ibis Pub & Restaurant

Kevin Foley is originally from Regina, Saskatchewan.

OPINION: Reformed or not, ICBC is still a monopoly. Why?

“It’s past time that politicians do the right thing: they need to end the ICBC monopoly”

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read