Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline is unloaded in Edson, Alta. on Tuesday June 18, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

Experts to advise Ottawa as it consults First Nations that want stake in TMX

The government says a number of Indigenous communities have expressed interest

A former Enbridge executive has been appointed to head a committee that will advise the federal government as it consults with Indigenous communities that want a financial stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Linda Coady will lead a group of experts that will help the government during the engagement process.

Coady was chief sustainability officer for Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. and was the former co-chair of the government’s Generation Energy Council.

The government says a number of Indigenous communities have expressed interest in participating economically in Trans Mountain through equity and revenue sharing.

Morneau sent letters on July 9 to the 129 potentially affected Indigenous communities, or their delegates, that might have an interest in securing economic partnership in the oil pipeline.

The letters say the government will host discussions with First Nations this month in Ottawa, Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops and Edmonton that will determine what that potential economic participation could look like.

“The Trans Mountain expansion project presents a real economic opportunity – for Canadians, and for Indigenous communities,” Morneau said in a release Friday.

“With the approval of the project, we can begin discussions with the many communities that may be interested in becoming partners in getting Canada’s natural resources to market.

“Our government looks forward to moving the project forward in a way that reflects our commitment to reconciliation.”

ALSO READ: Insurance firms urged to stop coverage of Trans Mountain pipeline

Morneau said the government intends the engagement process to be “open and fair.”

He said the discussions will be guided by the idea that participation of Indigenous communities could help their economic development, that the government bought Trans Mountain to benefit all Canadians, and that the pipeline will be built and operated on a commercial basis.

Morneau said Indigenous communities that are unable to attend the meetings can meet by teleconference or submit views in writing.

Other interested parties, including the general public, can also have their say until Aug. 30.

Earlier this summer an Indigenous-led group called Project Reconciliation said it could make a bid for majority ownership of the pipeline.

The group said almost 340 Indigenous communities across British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan could choose to share ownership in the project that would ship crude from the Alberta oilsands to the west coast and from there to overseas markets.

But another organization called the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group has argued that Trans Mountain should be owned by communities actually located on the route as they are most at risk from an oil spill.

The proposal to twin an existing pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C., was first approved by cabinet in 2016, but resistance to it by the British Columbia government, environmentalists and some Indigenous groups grew.

The federal government purchased the existing line last year from Texas-based Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion when the company threatened to walk away because of the uncertainty.

The Federal Court of Appeal shelved the original approval last summer and the federal government approved the pipeline expansion again in June after a second round of consultations with First Nations.

Last month, six First Nations filed another legal challenge against the project, saying Canada’s ownership of the corporation created a bias that prevented full consultations as ordered by the courts.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta artist John Horton named to Order of British Columbia

Honour for significant contributions made to the appreciation and safety of B.C.’s coastal history

Man arrested in ‘after-hours club crackdown’ in Whalley, Surrey RCMP say

Police say they received information about clubs, parties ‘springing up’ at commercial properties

Former White Rock mayor, MP shares community connections via YouTube

Gordie Hogg aims to highlight those who’ve impacted South Surrey, White Rock

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read