Re Indigenous Ownership Of TMX: Too Important To Get Wrong (July 26): Project Reconciliation is a proposal by First Nations and Métis to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline. Indigenous communities in Western Canada are no strangers to resource development, and many have a great deal of experience in the sector.
We’re committed to working with governments and Indigenous groups to advance this historic project to benefit almost half the Indigenous people in Canada – and Canada itself. Some critics present this as an immature idea not ready for prime time, but Project Reconciliation is more than a year in the making, steered by seasoned Indigenous leaders and supported by a team of energy-sector veterans, as well as regulatory, investment, development and environmental experts and professionals.
Recently, I gave a presentation to the 43rd Annual Elders Gathering in Vancouver, the country’s largest Indigenous gathering. I asked for guidance and counsel. While pipelines are a highly technical topic, Project Reconciliation can only benefit from the wisdom of our elders and their deep understanding of their lands and waterways.
From financial expertise to purchasing the project – at no additional cost to taxpayers because loans can be taken out using existing shipping agreements as collateral – to technical capacity for partnerships and management, we’re committed to success. It’s a critical step in redefining the relationship between Indigenous people and natural-resource development. There is a pipeline to reconciliation. We’re ready when Canada is.
Delbert Wapass, executive chair and founder, Project Reconciliation; former chief, Thunderchild First Nation; vice-chair, Indian Resource Council