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  • The Westridge Marine Terminal, the terminus of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, is seen in an aerial photo over Burrard Inlet in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada June 29, 2019.

    The Westridge Marine Terminal, the terminus of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, is seen in an aerial photo over Burrard Inlet in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada June 29, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 July 2019

Project Reconciliation said a 51% stake in the pipeline will alleviate First Nations poverty.

A Canadian Indigenous group is planning to bid for a portion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in hopes to mediate the First Nation community’s rising poverty, Reuters reported Wednesday.

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The organization, Project Reconciliation, aims to submit the C$6.9 billion (US$5.5 billion) offer as early as Friday, managing director Stephen Mason told Reuters, and start negotiations with Ottawa two weeks later.

Project Reconciliation, which is made up of delegations from numerous Indigenous groups in the province, said a 51 percent stake in the pipeline will allow them to make decisions and allocated energy resources to alleviate native poverty, a watershed for Indigenous people who have historically watched Canada’s resources enrich others.

Still, not all First Nations groups are on board. Some in British Columbia have pledged to keep fighting expansion of Trans Mountain with blockades and protests, saying ownership makes no difference to the risk of oil leaks.

Many Indigenous groups view the existing and potentionally expanded pipeline as a threat to their territories and lands. According to First Nations and environmentalists, the project will expand the extraction of crude from carbon-heavy oil sands in the north and increase the risk of spills along the over 1,150km pipeline.

After failed attempts, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once again approved the controversial proposal June 19.

The US$5.5 billion project would triple Trans Mountain's capacity to carry 890,000 barrels per day from Alberta's oil sands to British Columbia's Pacific coast, and supposedly alleviate congestion along the existing line.

Trudeau, who faces a reelection this October, has been under pressure from both western Canadian politicians who accuse him of doing too little for the oil industry and environmental groups that see the oil sands as a highly polluting source of crude production.

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