Two competing Indigenous groups are hoping to become the new owners of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline.
Project Reconciliation, which is made up of First Nations and Métis communities from Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan has recently said in a news release that it’s willing to purchase 51 per cent of the pipeline expansion project for $6.9 billion.
Delbert Wapass is the former chief of Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan and is leading Project Reconciliation. The group has said it could submit the offer as early as tomorrow.
Steve Mason is Project Reconciliation’s Managing Director and head of financing.
“We’ve been assembling something that will work for all sides and it will be ready as early as next week. When the government wants to talk, we’ll be ready,” he said in the news release.
It adds that nearly 340 First Nations and Métis communities across the three provinces could be eligible to buy into Project Reconciliation.
Another Indigenous-led group called Iron Coalition is also interested in buying the pipeline.
According to the CBC, the group is looking to “buy between half and 100 per cent of the pipeline once its built in 2022.”
Iron Coalition is led by Chief Tony Alexis of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, Chief Calvin Bruneau of Papaschase First Nation, and Fort McKay Métis President Ron Quintal. According to its website, the coalition “has been mandated by the Assembly of Treaty Chiefs and is giving all Métis communities and First Nations in Alberta the opportunity to secure ownership in the pipeline and bring economic benefit directly back to their communities.”
The federal government bought the pipeline just over a year ago for four and a half billion dollars.
The pipeline expansion project was approved for a second time last month.
Construction is likely to begin later this year.