Federal purchase of Trans Mountain revives talk of First Nations equity in pipeline

By James Peters
June 5, 2018 - 4:25pm

KAMLOOPS — A Kamloops-area chief says the purchase of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline by the federal government re-opens the chances of supporting First Nations buying into the pipeline.

Whispering Pines-Clinton Chief Mike LeBourdais says the idea of buying a piece of Trans Mountain has been kicking around for several years.

"We wanted to own a part of the pipe in 2012 and 2013. At that point, we were negotiating the agreement around investments in the community, investments in our youth and infrastructure. At the time, Kinder Morgan was not interested in giving up any equity in the pipe to First Nations," said LeBourdais. "But since they're walking off the field, now that conversation has begun again."

The existing Trans Mountain pipeline passes through the Whispering Pines reserve north of Kamloops, as does the future expansion.

LeBourdais says there's no indication yet that the latest attempt to gain equity in the pipeline will be more successful than the first effort.

"We need a little bit more love from the feds before we go any further. We're getting a huge amount of interest from the First Nations side, and it's very difficult to get a response (from the federal government)," said LeBourdais.

Supporting First Nations have engaged the services of a Toronto-based brokerage as they explore getting funds together.

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