Wait until Trans Mountain pipe built before buying in, Indigenous investors told

CALGARY — Indigenous communities interested in taking an equity stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline should wait until after its controversial expansion is built to avoid risk, says Barrie Robb, a principal with Fivars Consulting Ltd. of Calgary.

Taking an ownership stake in a major energy project can deliver significant rewards, said the consultant who helped broker a $545-million investment by two northern Alberta Indigenous communities in a Suncor Energy Inc. oilsands storage tank farm in 2017.

Industry is a more reliable partner than the government ever has been, he added, speaking at the Indigenous Energy Summit on the Tsuut’ina Nation just south of Calgary on Wednesday.

“If First Nations don’t take control of their lives, who will?” Robb said.

“If the CPP Investment Board, big pension funds, the big life insurance companies, are interested in that kind of a project, why shouldn’t the First Nations be in there as well? It’s the same objectives, the same concerns and the same kinds of returns.”

When the federal government bought Trans Mountain and its controversial expansion project from Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. last year for $4.5 billion, it signalled that it did not intend to hold it for the long term and that potential buyers included Indigenous groups.

That prospect was welcomed by most Indigenous and industry speakers at the summit, although some voiced the same concerns about regulatory certainty in Canada that other investors have expressed.

Roy Fox, chief of the Kainai First Nation in southern Alberta, said he also wouldn’t recommend buying equity in the pipeline now because of regulatory obstacles that could stand in the way of its expansion project.

“As it stands now, we would not invest. If it was a sure thing, maybe,” he told reporters.

He said, like many other potential energy investors, that he fears for the industry’s future because of Ottawa’s pursuit of Bill C-69 to revamp the National Energy Board and Bill C-48 to ban oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s northern coast.

The federal bills were also attacked by Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd.

“I think Bill C-48 should just be put away until they can consult with First Nations,” she said. “C-69 … as it stands now, it’s not only insulting and ridiculous to Alberta, it just will not work, so there needs to be some changes.”

Trans Mountain CEO Ian Anderson said he is focused on getting the pipeline expansion built — a process that has been stalled since a court decision set aside its National Energy Board approval last fall — and any future sale will be up to his new employer, the federal government.

“There is no project to invest in at this point,” he said in a speech. “I’ve got to get (regulatory) certificates, we’ve got to get to work. We’ve got to start building this national-interest project and that’s what I remain singularly focused on.”

Stephen Buffalo, CEO of summit sponsor Indian Resource Council, says he is committed to using energy resource development to support prosperity on Canadian reserves despite “Facebook warriors” who have branded him a “sell-out” on social media.

“You think you’re trying to do good for the people but some people, they just don’t understand this industry and they don’t understand our end game,” he said.

“Our end game is not to own a pipeline, it’s Indigenous ownership (of resources).”

Just Posted

Regulator’s report unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline expansion battle

CALGARY — An environmental group that tried to widen the scope of… Continue reading

Red Deer firefighter is recovering, thanks community for support

Firefighters who help together, stick together. Red Deer firefighter medic Ben Barthel,… Continue reading

Biathlon women sweep the podium for second time

Biathlon women took top four spots in Thursday’s 10-km race

Zion’s freak injury ripples in basketball, business worlds

DURHAM, N.C. — Soon after Zion Williamson’s shoe ripped apart, Nike’s stock… Continue reading

HBC to shutter Home Outfitters brand and likely some Saks Off Fifth locations

TORONTO — Hudson’s Bay Co. is shuttering its Home Outfitters business and… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Must have wardrobe basics

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

NEB gives Trans Mountain pipeline expansion its endorsement

CALGARY — The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the… Continue reading

Abel begins diving season on brink of record for most worlds medals

MONTREAL — Jennifer Abel could make history this summer in Gwangju, South… Continue reading

On eve of return to Toronto, former Raptors star DeRozan says he’s “moved on”

TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan has found closure. When the player once fondly… Continue reading

ACTRA to honour actress Jayne Eastwood who says being on set is her ‘happy place’

TORONTO — Looking back on her five decades in show business, Toronto… Continue reading

If proven, Smollett allegations could be a ‘career killer’

LOS ANGELES — Jussie Smollett is enmeshed in weekly drama on the… Continue reading

Ponoka host to Bayer Crop Science seed innovations trade show

The company held a trade show with seed crop science industry partners at the ag event centre

Gaudreau snaps goal drought to help Flames double up Islanders 4-2

CALGARY — The drought is over for Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau’s first goal… Continue reading

Federal government set to develop code of conduct for sport in Canada

OTTAWA — The federal government is developing a code of conduct for… Continue reading

Most Read