CALGARY, June 17, 2019 /CNW/ - An Indigenous-led group that wants to buy a majority interest in the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project says the federal government must let the expansion proceed. A decision is expected to be delivered tomorrow.
Project Reconciliation says the government should also ensure Indigenous Peoples are included when the time comes to sell the pipeline.
"The Trans Mountain pipeline can become a pipeline to reconciliation," said Delbert Wapass, Executive Chair & Founder. "Step one is approving the expansion tomorrow, and step two is making sure Indigenous Peoples are represented among eventual buyers. That's how we'll put words about reconciliation into action."
He said there's growing interest among Indigenous Peoples in taking ownership positions in energy projects. Indigenous decision-making power will limit risk and increase certainty for investment in pipeline and resource projects, which benefits not just the owners, but the whole of Canada's economy.
"All Canadians will benefit if the Trans Mountain expansion is approved. Indigenous Peoples haven't always shared in the benefit from resources found under traditional lands. But every day, more of us are saying we want in and this is the perfect time for Ottawa to agree," he said.
Wapass, a former chief, founded Project Reconciliation to facilitate Indigenous ownership of TMX. Almost 340 First Nation and Métis communities across Western Canada are eligible to join the ownership structure.
Project Reconciliation is a non-partisan, First Nations-led initiative that has invited Indigenous communities in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan to buy a majority stake (51 per cent) in the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project (TMX).
The project is headed up by Delbert Wapass, Executive Chair & Founder and former Chief of Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan; Shane Gottfriedson Regional Director, B.C., and former Chief of Tk'emlúps te Secwepemc First Nation; Dr. Michelle Corfield, B.C. Marine & Environmental Advisor; and Wallace Fox, Regional Director, Alberta, and former Chief of the Onion Lake Cree Nation; and is supported by a team of industry and business professionals that includes Stephen Mason, Managing Director & Founder of Project Reconciliation; and Pat Whelan, Managing Director & Founder, both who provide extensive experience and expertise in finance, business management and governance.
There is a pipeline to reconciliation. Here's why we should take it:
With a majority stake in TMX, participating Indigenous community partners would have direct input into how land, water, animals and fish are protected. They would have a seat at the table regarding how TMX is operated and constructed, and the authority to ensure that these activities meet high standards for environmental and marine protection and safety.
Participating Indigenous community partners would receive long-term revenue that could be used to achieve economic independence. The revenue would come both from earnings from the initial TMX investment, and from earnings from re-investments made under a Sovereign Wealth Reconciliation Fund.
The Sovereign Wealth Reconciliation Fund could facilitate a bridge to future technologies. It would be re-invested into infrastructure-based assets that could include environmentally sustainable initiatives.
Participating Indigenous community partners would not require upfront cash to invest. Project Reconciliation's financing plan would involve buying a 51-per cent interest in the existing pipeline, and obtaining funding for 51 per cent of the cost to construct the expansion project. Upon completion of the expansion project, Project Reconciliation's entire purchase and financing costs (i.e., 51 per cent of the cost of buying the original pipeline and 51 per cent of the cost of financing the construction of the expanded pipeline) would be refinanced through a syndicated, 20-year bond issue totalling approximately $7.6 billion. No part of the financing would require public funding.
SOURCE Project Reconciliation
For further information: Sarah Del Giallo, Enterprise Canada, 416.586.1474 ext. 2255; MaryAnn Kenney, Project Reconciliation, 403.606.9998