Ernie Crey said he welcomes the news of the $4.5B federal buyout plan for Kinder Morgan and the Trans Mountain Pipeline project. (Black Press Media)

B.C. Indigenous leader welcomes Trans Mountain pipeline buyout by feds

Bailout bodes well for those depending on pipeline project’s success, says Chilliwack-area chief

Cheam Chief Ernie Crey welcomed the news Tuesday of the $4.5 billion federal buyout of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Kinder Morgan Canada’s assets.

“There was a promise made, and obviously it’s going to be a promise kept, that one way or another this pipeline would be built because it’s in the national interest,” Crey said.

The livelihood of the Cheam community “also depends on it succeeding,” and the deal injects a stabilizing element into a project that was teetering on collapse.

“I am happy with this morning’s announcement,” said Crey, who has been very supportive of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) in light of the potential economic spinoffs for the Cheam. “It bodes well.”

Once the KM sale is complete, Canada will continue the TMX construction on its own, with a view to selling it down the road once market conditions are more favourable.

The Chilliwack-area chief has been vocal on social media and in the mainstream press for several months trying to shoot down the notion that B.C. First Nations were united in lockstep in opposition to the expansion.

READ MORE: FN not in lockstep on TMX

It’s not black and white, he argued, and there is no homogeneity on the pipeline issue, despite how it is being portrayed.

Crey wasn’t completely surprised either by the bailout decision announced by Liberal government Ministers Bill Morneau and Jim Carr.

“I knew the potential options they were facing, I just didn’t know which one they would settle on,” Crey said.

For those opposed to the pipeline twinning, including Indigenous leaders and environmentalists, the bailout probably came as a “big surprise, if not a shock,” he said.

READ MORE: Local bands say no to KM benefits

“Some felt this was in the bag, and that it would be not built after all, but sadly for them it has been made clear this thing is going to be built,” Crey said.

As co-chair of the Indigenous Advisory & Monitoring Committee, a committee to undertake the monitoring of the pipeline during and after construction, as well as elected chief of Cheam First Nation, which has signed mutual benefit deals and employment agreements, Chief Crey has a decidedly different viewpoint than some pipeline opponents.

“Cheam formed partnerships with 13 companies involved in the pipeline construction process, and during the post-construction phase,” Crey said, adding some are national companies, while others are local.

Construction could get underway by this summer, and that would be welcome.

The training, the full-time employment, and the earnings the Cheam will realize as a result of TMX will be “driven back into the businesses” operated by individual band members, and band-owned ventures, Crey noted.


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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

PQBeat: The Old School House Arts Centre executive director Illana Hester

Listen: Podcast talk includes changes at TOSH, long-term view of local arts scene

‘Soft Shore’ public art installation at Parksville city hall more expensive than planned

Plans to install centerpiece from MAC summer show hits roadblocks

Water flushing in Parksville runs until April

Residents can expect water discolouration

Mid Island Distance runners in fine form as season opens

Club competes at 10th annual Harry Jerome meet

Open house set for Feb. 20 to discuss planned cell tower in Qualicum Beach

Concerned resident has started petition in opposition

WATCH: Man creates intricate replicas of Parksville-area buildings

Historic models currently on display at community centre

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

Nanaimo-bound ferry breaks down, but another available for service

Two sailings cancelled Sunday on Tsawwassen-Duke Point route

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

Most Read