Indigenous ownership of Trans Mountain must be ‘material’, prospective bidder says

Indigenous ownership of Trans Mountain must be 'material', prospective bidder says
Workers lay pipe during construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on farmland, in Abbotsford, B.C., on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

The director of one of the groups seeking to buy a stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline says nothing less than “material” ownership by Indigenous people is acceptable if Ottawa is serious about reconciliation.

The federal government recently launched talks with more than 120 Western Canadian Indigenous communities whose lands are located along the pipeline route, to find out if any of them are interested in acquiring a minority stake.

It’s the first part of what will be a two-phase divestment process by the federal government, which bought Trans Mountain in 2019 but has always stated it does not intend to be the long-term owner.

SEE ALSO: Regulator rules in favour of Trans Mountain route deviation

The second phase of the divestment process will involve the consideration of commercial offers for the remaining stake in the pipeline.

Stephen Mason of Project Reconciliation says while that phase won’t preclude any major pipeline or infrastructure company from making an offer, he believes Indigenous people should be involved too — ideally bringing Indigenous ownership to more than 50 per cent.

Project Reconciliation is an initiative that has lined up its own financing for a Trans Mountain bid in an effort to secure Indigenous economic participation in the pipeline. It intends to participate in the second phase of the divestment process.

READ ALSO: RCMP dispute photojournalist’s account of arrest while covering pipeline protest

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2023.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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