An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
NOW THAT THE DEADLINE has come and gone for the feds to find another buyer for the Trans Mountain pipeline, some creative thinking is in order.
You and I will, temporarily at least, become oil magnates of a sort as Ottawa takes ownership of the pipeline from Kinder Morgan.
However, the federal government doesn’t intend to own the pipeline on our behalf any longer than it needs to, and I’d suggest most Canadians agree with that kind of thinking.
So, since nobody with deep pockets has come along to buy it, what will we do with it?
Well, Chief Michael LeBourdais of the Whispering Pines Indian Band right here in our own region has an idea. He believes it’s feasible for a number of bands to get financing to buy a sizeable stake, possibly even a majority, in the pipeline.
Details are fuzzy at this point, but LeBourdais is of the opinion that First Nations involvement in the pipeline could help smooth over concerns of those who oppose it.
There’s a lot to be said for that kind of thinking. A good foundation for First Nations involvement has already been set with the $400 million in benefits agreements promised to bands through whose lands the pipeline runs.
And either outright or partial ownership would not only give First Nations a direct say on environmental protection as the pipeline twinning is built, but would provide an effective means to settle disagreements over its construction within various First Nations themselves.
Further, it would give First Nations a major economic opportunity — though costs and revenues have been a big part of the question mark with Trans Mountain, pipelines are big business and make big money.
It would be dreaming to assume such a scenario would answer all the issues over Trans Mountain, but if the pipeline expansion goes ahead, it looks like the best option offered so far.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.