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

COVID-19 greatly impacts future of seasonal workers

Faced with job loss and lack of financial support, many overseas workers were forced to return home

Fernie Rotary supports Days for Girls

The Rotary club donated $250 towards the Fernie chapter of the international organization

The importance of staying active during self isolation

Maintaining an exercise regime is critical to mental health during stressful times

Elk Valley holds on to hope while pandemic ensues

Weeks into the COVID-19 crisis, communities in the Elk Valley continue to find ways to spread joy

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Most Read