Trudeau’s Trans Mountain nightmare could end with indigenous-led $6.9-billion offer for majority stake – by Nia Williams and Rod Nickel (Financial Post/Reuters – July 3, 2019)

A deal ahead of October election could ease criticism over broken promises on the environment and indigenous rights

CALGARY — An indigenous-led group plans to offer to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from the Canadian government this week or next, a deal that could help Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mitigate election-year criticism from environmentalists.

The group, called Project Reconciliation, aims to submit the $6.9 billion offer as early as Friday, managing director Stephen Mason told Reuters, and start negotiations with Ottawa two weeks later.

Project Reconciliation said the investment will alleviate First Nations poverty, a watershed for indigenous people who have historically watched Canada’s resources enrich others.

Expansion would triple capacity of the pipeline carrying crude from Alberta to British Columbia’s coast, helping resuscitate an industry depressed by low prices and congested pipelines.

Trudeau’s government, which bought the pipeline last year after its owner, Kinder Morgan Canada, gave up on trying to get the expansion approved, has already been touting First Nations participation. A deal ahead of an October election could ease criticism from voters who have complained of broken promises on the environment and aboriginal rights.

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