The way we’ve tried to build energy infrastructure hasn’t worked. Project Reconciliation represents new thinking, and the Trans Mountain pipeline is a historic opportunity to show what Reconciliation in action really is.
Canadians know it’s time we made good on our words about Reconciliation. For many years, we’ve benefitted from the resources found on the traditional lands of Indigenous peoples, often in the West. All too often, these benefits have eluded Indigenous peoples, but the Trans Mountain pipeline represents a historic opportunity to improve Indigenous lives across Western Canada. An opportunity we should seize.
Today, Canada doesn’t receive full value for the resources we responsibly produce, using the highest environmental, labour, and human rights standards of any major energy producer. By diversifying the markets we can sell our energy to, we’ll receive higher prices. And through majority Indigenous ownership of the Trans Mountain pipeline, these benefits will flow directly to Indigenous peoples.
For too long, people far removed from the generous bounty found on traditional lands in the West have thought they know best. Today, though, there’s a new way of thinking that respects the ancient owners of these lands to give meaningful consent over their resource development. It’s time for Canada to respect this consent, so we can use the economic benefits that will follow to show our desire for Reconciliation is real.
As such, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion represents a historic opportunity. For Canada, to make talk about Reconciliation real. For the West, to find new markets across the Pacific for its rich resources that have made all of our lives better. And for Indigenous peoples, to benefit directly from riches found on their traditional land, and to use them to improve lives well into the future.
It’s an opportunity we should seize together, so together we can benefit from the higher prices our energy can receive. And by creating an innovative Sovereign Wealth Fund similar to Norway’s, take a real step towards putting Reconciliation into action.
For too long, people far removed from the resources found on traditional lands in the West have thought they’ve known best. But there’s a new way of thinking that respects traditional owners’ right to give consent to resource development—and improve Indigenous lives with the profits that follow.
That’s what Project Reconciliation is about. Canada can make the Trans Mountain pipeline a Reconciliation pipeline by selling a majority stake to Indigenous communities, so they can create a Sovereign Wealth and Reconciliation Fund that will generate long-term revenues for Indigenous communities across the West.
But putting Reconciliation into action goes beyond finances. Majority Indigenous ownership of the Reconciliation pipeline also ensures Indigenous voices will be heard in deciding how traditional lands and waters are protected and enhanced.
Reconciliation isn’t words. It’s ensuring the benefits of resource development flow directly to Indigenous peoples. And it’s respecting their voices when deciding how to develop and ship these resources responsibly in a way that’s consistent with the United Nation’s Declaration on Indigenous People. It says Indigenous peoples “have the right to economic development” and we agree. So, too, does the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which called on Canada to adopt the UN’s declaration.
"The status quo has given Indigenous peoples more than enough experience managing poverty. It’s time for us to manage wealth." — Shane Gottfriedson, B.C. Director
The Trans Mountain pipeline has been operating safely since it was built in the 1950s. It’s vital for British Columbia’s energy needs. And its expansion is vital to get resources from Alberta and Saskatchewan to markets in Asia, where they’ll fetch higher prices than they do being sold to America alone. Currently, Canada loses $80 million a day by being forced to sell at a discount to the U.S.
The pipeline already has a track record of safety and the expansion comes with state-of-the-art marine protection for the coast. And shipping oil by pipe is safer than shipping by rail.
More than 70% of the route will be beside the existing pipeline. Another 16% will run along other existing routes, like railways or power lines. Only 11% will be new routing, mostly around urban areas that have grown since the original pipeline was built. Polls show Canadians, including most British Columbians, support the expansion.
In May 2018, the federal government bought the pipeline. And when it’s time to sell, let’s sell a majority stake to Indigenous communities and improve Indigenous lives across the West.
"A Reconciliation pipeline won’t only improve Indigenous lives. It will help all Canadians benefit from the higher prices our resources will command." — Shane Gottfriedson, B.C. Director