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

Boundary Adult Hockey League moves into the final 4

Semi-finals start Feb. 25 in Grand Forks

Tax clinics for Boundary residents begin March 4

Drop-in times are available at ServiceBC, the Grand Forks Library, Gospel Chapel and in Greenwood

Greenwood Public Library looks to next chapter

The institution celebrated 75 years on Feb. 20

Supreme Court of Canada will hear Sinixt appeal May 12

B.C. has appealed Indigenous hunting case through several levels of court starting in Nelson in 2016

Shuttle service at Trail hospital will remain for now

“ … shuttle service will remain in place while work on the new drop-off area … continues.”

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Police ID man found dead in west Kootenays after probe leads to no arrests

Forty-seven-year-old Aaron Graham, of Vallican, has been identified as the man killed

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Most Read