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

In the summer of 1950, a dramatic highway sign made an impact

The Manning Park Gallows featured a 10-foot-long cigarette in a noose to warn about forest fires

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Sunflower Highway, art initiative to connect Fraser Valley, Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan

Sunflowers made out of reclaimed materials will be installed on public art trails

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read