Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi speaks about the government’s plan for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project during a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday October 3, 2018. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Feds won’t rush into Trans Mountain sale to Indigenous groups: minister

Amarjeet Sohi says pipeline sale needs consultation and will likely take years

Canada’s natural resources minister says the government is willing to consider bids from Indigenous groups for a stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline.

But Amarjeet Sohi also says Ottawa wouldn’t jump at the first offer on the table.

“We have seen from Indigenous communities that they are interested in having an equity … in this project,” Sohi said Thursday at a business luncheon in Calgary.

“It is a very important conversation to have because Indigenous communities should be benefiting from economic resource development. This will be an opportunity for us to work with them and explore that option.”

An Indigenous-led group called Project Reconciliation has announced it could be ready as early as next week to make a $6.9-billion bid for majority ownership of the pipeline.

The group says almost 340 Indigenous communities across B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan could choose to share ownership in an expanded pipeline shipping crude oil from the Alberta oilsands to the west coast and from there to overseas markets.

Sohi said the government is a long way from beginning to look at serious offers for the pipeline. It plans to hold discussions in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton and Kamloops, B.C., later this month with Indigenous groups.

“We want to make sure there’s a capacity for all Indigenous communities to engage on this,” Sohi said after the luncheon.

“This is a project that’s going to take a couple of years to complete and conversations will continue to proceed.”

Sohi also said he expects there will be another court challenge of the government’s approval last month of Trans Mountain for a second time.

The proposal to twin an existing pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C., was first approved by cabinet in 2016, but resistance to it by the B.C. government, environmentalists and some Indigenous groups grew.

The federal government purchased the existing line last year from Texas-based Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion when the company threatened to walk away because of the uncertainty.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Quesnel trucking companies want alternative to Maple Drive

“Drivers report their safety concerns on a weekly, if not daily, basis,” Lloyd Inwood tells council

Forestry Ink: Choices for a better future

Regular columnist Jim Hilton writes about the Council of Forest Industries’ September recommendations

Service Electric sits atop Quesnel Sponsor League after five weeks of play

Curlers aim to slide to victory during the fifth week of the Quesnel Sponsor League

Blackwater Paddlers maintain Voyageur Rock along Quesnel’s riverfront

Ted Martindale has donated a new flag for the club to fly

Myles Mattila’s MindRight joins forces with HeadCheck Health

Former Quesnel athlete adds powerful player to his mental health advocacy team

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read