Few of the First Nations and Metis communities are determined to purchase an equity stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion despite a court ruling that halted construction and potentially set the project back for years.
The Federal Court of Appeal ruling quashed the government’s approval of the project, requiring it to examine the impacts of increased tanker traffic and consult more deeply with Aboriginal groups along the pipeline route.
The indigenous groups in Fort McMurray, Alta., say they still want to invest in the project and believe the ruling creates an opportunity for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to get consultation right.
“There are no shortcuts when it comes to consultation,” said Brad Callihoo, the chief executive officer of the Fort McMurray #468 First Nation. “(The ruling) identifies an issue that needs to be addressed. The system is broken when it comes to consultation and we need to fix it.”
Canada has purchased the existing Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion and pledged to complete the expansion project, which would triple the line’s capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil a day and increase the number of tankers in Metro Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet seven-fold.
Several First Nations in coastal and central B.C. filed lawsuits against the project, citing inadequate consultation. As they celebrated their win on the banks of Burrard Inlet on Aug. 30, dozens of construction workers from Callihoo’s First Nation were sent home from their jobs