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

Tofino graduate credits family and community after receiving $40K scholarship

“I would not be here and I would not be the person I am without my community.”

Michael Kaehn’s new book celebrates Hot Springs Cove’s history

Slideshows coming to Ahousaht, Tofino, Ucluelet, Port Alberni and Shawnigan Lake in September.

Two southern resident orcas missing as experts fear for the population

Centre for Whale Research says one whale each is missing from the J and K pods

Ucluelet’s Water’s Edge Resort dishes out donations

Food Bank on the Edge and Thornton Creek Hatchery grateful for funding.

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

Most Read