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Indigenous groups want equity stake in Trans Mountain pipeline

Last Updated Jun 4, 2018 at 10:18 am MDT

Pipes are seen at the pipe yard at the Trans Mountain facility in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, March 27, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The Indigenous leaders of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) have announced their intention to purchase an equity stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“The oil that would be transported through the pipeline would originate in the Alberta oil sands region, the traditional territories of the indigenous communities.  The success of this region, and the success of each of these communities depends on getting fair market value for our resources,” said Shirley Tremblay, President of Conklin Metis.

The decision comes after meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in April and other members of government.

“By working together, and stepping up to help lead this project, we can be sure to balance the need for economic growth, with protecting our environment,” said President Ron Quintal, President of the Fort McKay Metis.

As of Thursday, all of the Indigenous communities in the region have submitted a formal request to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, and Premier Rachel Notley to begin discussions on how to move this project forward.

“Any plans going forward would be contingent on the support from our communities, ascertained by rigorous and comprehensive consultation with our membership. That is just one way that an indigenously owned pipeline would be different from those what have come before it,” said Allan Adam, president of the Athabasca Tribal Council of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

Given their experience in dealing with the oilsands industry and their financial resources they wish to have a seat at the table to insure Indigenous rights are protected and the environmental standards are met.

“By becoming owners, we can protect our communities, secure their futures, but also allow all Canadians to benefit.” said Chief Archie Waquan of the Mikisew Cree First Nation