Within the energy industry, there is a growing recognition that indigenous communities need equity ownership in pipelines and other projects in order to proceed
Tsuu T’ina, Alta. — Alberta First Nations are considering a bid to buy a stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline from Ottawa, but the project’s top executive says there is nothing to sell until the expansion project is approved.
Marlene Poitras, the influential Alberta regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, said that she had informed Finance Minister Bill Morneau of the interest of Alberta’s indigenous communities in buying a stake in the project.
Speaking at the indigenous energy summit on the Tsuu T’ina Nation, a reserve on the edge of Calgary, Poitras said she had also advised the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and the Alberta provincial government that indigenous groups are looking to buy into the pipeline project.
“I believe that in order to create real economies on reserves, real progress must be made on real indicators,” Poitras said, adding that projects needed to boost wages for Aboriginal people, educational opportunities and ownership opportunities.
However, Ian Anderson, Trans Mountain Corp. president and CEO, said Wednesday that “there’s no project to invest in at this point,” as the expansion still needs fresh regulatory approvals from the National Energy Board before it can proceed to construction, which will boost shipments of oil from Alberta to the West Coast. He said getting those approvals is the current focus before making deals to sell stakes in the project.