Project Reconciliation Urges Parties Not to Use TMX and Indigenous Development as a Political Bargaining Tool

Today, the Chiefs and leaders of the Indian Resource Council are meeting in Edmonton to discuss reclaiming their authority over their own oil and gas resources. At the same time, Project Reconciliation and other consortia are working on Indigenous ownership of TMX, the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby B.C.

Today, the Chiefs and leaders of the Indian Resource Council are meeting in Edmonton to discuss reclaiming their authority over their own oil and gas resources. At the same time, Project Reconciliation and other consortia are working on Indigenous ownership of TMX, the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby B.C.

In the face of the climate strike in Edmonton led by climate activist Greta Thunberg, and a close federal election where pipelines are frequent talking points, Indigenous communities involved in the energy sector are concerned that their rights and economic livelihood will once again be used as a bargaining chip by Canadian political parties and environmental activists.

“Project Reconciliation is a non-partisan group, working to build capacity and prosperity for Western First Nations as we seek a better quality of life in our communities,” explained Project Reconciliation Executive Chair and former Thunderchild First Nation Chief Delbert Wapass. 

“We have noted throughout the election that opposition to the TMX pipeline has become a tool for political parties to win votes in wealthy, urban ridings. With a minority government and coalition a likely result, we are concerned that this once-in-a-generation economic opportunity for First Nations could be bargained away to appease activists far removed from the everyday poverty experienced by First Nations people.”

“First Nations have had their economic rights and rights to self-determination impeded by the Canadian government for over 150 years. We will not tolerate political interference in our business any longer,” asserted Wapass.

Wapass remains optimistic that the pipeline can be built under whomever forms the next government, with Indigenous ownership and oversight. He argues the project is needed to enable First Nations to move from managing poverty to managing wealth.