EDITORIAL – First Nations ownership stake in Trans Mountain a good idea


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 and CFJC Today. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6680 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – First Nations ownership stake in Trans Mountain a good idea

  1. tony brumell // July 24, 2018 at 2:13 PM // Reply

    The probable environmental impacts will not change with First Nations ownership.Oil spills will occur without the technical expertice to stop them or clean them up ..The threat to the fish and the Orca of the Salish sea will not be reduced and the number of Aframax ships coming into that body of water will not lessen.
    The over all impact on Global temperatures and Sea level rise will remain.The affects on the worlds populace of wildlife will remain the same .The destruction of watersheds and sources of potable water will still occur under a different owner.and First Nations will still be treated like crap by the regulatory bodies .
    So what will change ???? Those who will be held responsible for the afforsaid tradgedies will now be First Nations . Court cases,Bankruptcy and poverty will ensue and Chief LeBourdais along with any other bands that are foolish enough to get involved will reap the whirlwind.
    This is a bad idea.

  2. Ian MacKenzie // July 24, 2018 at 7:36 AM // Reply

    This pipeline expansion is only a trigger on the gun pointed directly at global warming. Avoid thinking of the economy and think of the further foot dragging in transitioning off fossil fuels. Although we may have to continue to accept the continuation of the original pipeline for a time, any move on pipelines should be to reduce the global use of fossil fuels, not increase them. The extreme weather events resulting from global warming will soon be so costly it will bankrupt entire economies. As we move deeper into that stage of social disintegration it won’t matter at all about money making, aboriginal or non-aboriginal. Now that our federal government has blundered into a deal with KM worth 4.5 billion our best move now is to admit it was a huge mistake and cut our losses by abandoning the entire expansion project. Sure, we’ll have thrown away 4.5 billion but that’s better than the options which will involve a further outlay of many more billions, stranded assets, and an acceleration of global warming.
    Although I’m a strong supporter of UNDRIP I do not think that we should support Chief LeBourdais’ short-sighted move that could result in First Nations becoming one of the Last Nations

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