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.

Just Posted

Ballenas Whalers players earn gridiron all-star nods

Pair of local standouts also earn MVP accolades

Four generations of logging and mining stories in one Parksville show

John Gogo will share regional stories, family history, song at Ground Zero Acoustic Lounge

New chess club starts up in Qualicum Beach

Replaces Bishops of Bowser, which shut down operations in September

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Report predicts drug resistance likely to kill 400,000 Canadians by 2050

This increase is expected to cost Canada 396,000 lives, $120 billion in hospital expenses

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Canadians mark Remembrance Day this morning

This year exactly 101 years to the day after the end of the First World War

Most Read