TransMountain pipeline construction in 1952. (TransMountain)

B.C., Alberta Indigenous leaders to bid for share of TransMountain pipeline

Majority share means revenue, environmental protection, B.C. chief says

Indigenous leaders are meeting in southern Alberta this week to prepare a bid on a majority interest in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline and its twinning project to the B.C. Lower Mainland.

The Indian Resource Council of Canada represents 134 first nations that have oil and gas resources. Its annual general meeting at a casino resort near Calgary begins Wednesday with an “Indigenous energy summit” to prepare a proposal for the federal government, which bought the pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion last year.

Mike LeBourdais, chief of the Whispering Pines First Nation between Kamloops and Barriere, has been travelling the right-of-way of the pipeline, completed in 1954 from northern Alberta to a terminal in Burnaby and Washington refineries. He has met with bankers, refiners and federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, and the intention is to present a bid for 51 per cent ownership of the pipeline by this spring.

“We’ve always wanted equity,” LeBourdais told NL Radio in Kamloops Monday. “When we started negotiating with Kinder Morgan when they owned this pipeline, back in 2007 when we started talking to them, equity was always part of the discussion. They said there’s no equity in the first pipe, we’ll talk about it later. So we grudgingly agreed to that.”

During a recent visit to Kamloops, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is interested in the Indigenous equity proposal, but the federal government is focused on meeting additional consultation demands from the latest court decision holding it up. LeBourdais said that could extend beyond next November’s federal election, and he wants Trudeau’s answer on a bid before that. Without participation by Indigenous investors, the project likely won’t be built, he said.

Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council, is blunt in his remarks about Ottawa’s performance and the interference of “professional environmentalists who claim to speak for us” and stage anti-pipeline demonstrations in cities.

RELATED: 33 Indigenous communities have benefit agreements

RELATED: Trudeau reassures business leaders on Trans Mountain

“The environmentalists and their supporters celebrate each time the courts put the kibosh on pipelines, such as what happened with the Federal Court of Appeal decision on Trans Mountain,” Buffalo said in his message to summit delegates. “In the meantime, our Liberal government appears clueless on a way forward. Sure, they have put together some sort of plan to address the two important issues raised by the court – Indigenous consultation and marine impact considerations – but they have failed to provide a coherent plan on how they will build the pipeline they now own.”

The Indian Resource Council also denounces Bill C-69, the Trudeau government’s pending legislation that would add more hurdles to pipeline construction such as downstream greenhouse gas and even gender impacts of resource development.

That legislation and other restrictions depressing the price of Alberta oil will cost every family in the Kainai Nation of Southern Alberta about $1,400 a year, Kainai Chief Roy Fox wrote in a recent letter to Trudeau.

LeBourdais says the equity stake isn’t just about revenues for impoverished Indigenous communities, it also guarantees a real say in environmental oversight of projects like TransMountain.

The B.C. government made a similar agreement on environmental monitoring with Indigenous communities with ocean-based salmon farms in their territory off the north end of Vancouver Island.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New Eco-Depot site proposed for Ashcroft, Cache Creek

TNRD staff directed to pursue the purchase of property at the former chip reload site off Highway 1

Oregon couple’s stolen truck located at Deep Creek, boat still missing

Jim and Kathy Jantz are thankful for the help they have received so far in Williams Lake

Two bodies found near Spences Bridge confirmed as those of missing Surrey men

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Many hands make light work at historic Cornwall fire lookout

Volunteers worked to restore the site, which a Journal reader remembers from a 1955 visit

Phase 2 work set to get started at 10 Mile Slide site

Work is projected to be complete by spring 2021 and will be monitored for two more years

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Most Read