CALGARY – Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the government remains committed to putting the Trans Mountain pipeline and its proposed expansion back in private hands as he unveiled four principles for including Indigenous groups in those discussions.
But he says timing and details of the sale of the pipeline depends on when it is “de-risked” and therefore can’t be determined until consultations now underway with affected Indigenous groups are completed.
The minister says discussions of potential Indigenous ownership could proceed if the communities would have “meaningful economic participation”, if the deal can proceed in the spirit of reconciliation, and if the resulting entity works to the benefit of all Canadians and on a commercial basis.
Morneau is in Calgary to promote last week’s federal budget. His next stops are in Vancouver and Edmonton.
Chanting and honking horns could be heard from a large gathering of pro-pipeline picketers across the street from the Fairmont Palliser hotel while Morneau spoke to the Economic Club of Canada.
In his speech, he said Ottawa realizes that resource-dependent provinces like Alberta have different economic challenges than others and vowed to continue to implement measures that encourage confidence and optimism.
“We’ve been very clear that we see the importance of getting our resources to international markets. We’ve also been very clear that the only way these projects can get done is if they’re done in the right way,” he said.
“I hope and expect that Albertans will see that we’re comporting ourselves in the way we need to in the face of getting a project done.”