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EDITORIAL – Sale of Trans Mountain pipeline has got to be about business

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THERE’S A FASCINATING battle of strategies going on between First Nations groups wanting a piece of the action on the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Two of the groups include well-known Kamloops-area indigenous leaders by the names of Chief Michael Lebourdais of the Whispering Pines reserve and former Tk’emlups te Secwepemc chief Shane Gottfriedson.

Both are out meeting with federal politicians and trying to raise the necessary capital to buy up the pipeline. They have very different views on what the federal government should consider when dealing on eventual ownership.

LeBourdais is part of the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group made up of indigenous communities along the pipeline route. He says those communities are directly affected by the expansion and should naturally have first dibs on ownership.

He says they’re the ones who are most at risk if anything happens along the route so it stands to reason they should have some control. And, they’re in the best position to ensure stringent environmental standards are met.

But Gottfriedson has a different take on it. In his view, a much broader group of indigenous communities should benefit from the expansion. As B.C. director of Project Reconciliation, he says more than 300 indigenous groups in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan should be given a stake.

It’s hard to see how all the competing groups will find common ground and a way to work together. LeBourdais and Gottfriedson both make strong arguments.

In the end, though, the federal government has a more compelling factor to consider. Beyond cultural and social arguments, the big question will be, who can do the best job of running the pipeline for the benefit not just of indigenous communities but for all communities.

Sorry, Chief LeBourdais and Mr. Gottfriedson — it’s just business.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7038 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca 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 ArmchairMayor.ca 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 – Sale of Trans Mountain pipeline has got to be about business

  1. David Johnson // August 1, 2019 at 7:12 PM // Reply

    They both have a point.
    They have to duke this out between themselves with a minimum of comments or opinions from the bleachers. In the end we just want our $5billion plus the cost of construction back, and ongoing taxation. The concern is one day the winner here saying they deserve the lions share of any federal taxation profits, using the argument of taking the risk … I could see it happening.

  2. Mel, do you really think Ottawa cares who can do the best job of running the pipeline for the benefit not just of indigenous communities but for all communities. Why does it appear, imho, that it’s all about “future considerations” for the decision making politicians and bureaucrats.

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