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

West Shore RCMP arrests one man after ‘bait’ bike stolen

Police arrest a 58-year-old, male suspect

Victoria grocery store staff seek hazard pay during COVID-19 crisis

Newly unionized Lifestyle Markets staff seek $3 an hour pay increase

COVID-19 has given running a boost

Several runners have taken the sport to new levels in the time of self-isolation

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: Doctors of BC

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Victoria businesses replace boy’s stolen bike

Business owners heard of theft on Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

53 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., four new deaths

B.C. has 498 active confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Most Read