Anishinabek Nation grand council chief opposes Canada’s purchase of pipeline

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ONTARIO—Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee and Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes oppose the recent agreement-in-principle that the Government of Canada has reached to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

“This is a highly unusual and very foolish decision to make-why is the government paying an international company when there are many needs in this country? There are immediate domestic issues and needs that should come before international priorities such as this one. If they’re prepared to open their cheque books for something that will not contribute to a sustainable future, then they should be prepared to cut a big cheque for women’s rights, health care, Indigenous rights and child well-being,” said Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, in an Anishinabek News release.

An agreement-in-principle with Kinder Morgan was reached that will allow Canada to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the expansion project, and related infrastructure, which includes the Kinder Morgan’s British Columbia terminal, and will allow for construction to move forward this summer.

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The Canadian government will spend $4.5 billion to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline. In a statement released May 29, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he believes the pipeline to be a ‘vital project in the national interest’ that will create and protect jobs in B.C. and Alberta. The pipeline project is expected to create 15,000 jobs.

The original 1,150 kilometre pipeline was built in 1953 and runs between Strathcona County (near Edmonton) to the marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C. where oil is loaded onto tankers for export.

Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes is also upset with the action taken by the government. “They are now purchasing the pipeline for $4.5 billion that was $550 million when it was originally bought by a Texas business. And this is a 65 year old pipeline. We are talking a lot of money here, and you have to question when the government got into the pipeline business.”

“This is a government that said it was focused on a green transitional economy,” said Ms. Hughes. “This approach would have created a lot more jobs than purchasing the pipeline will bring.”
According to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the federal government does not plan to be a long-term owner of the pipeline. Once the sale is complete, Canada will continue construction and eventually work with investors to transfer the project and related assets to a new owner.

The added density of the fuel will increase temperature and pressure, increasing the risks of the pipeline bursting and spilling oil into the surrounding territory’s air, water, and land, said Grand Chief Madahbee.

“It’s time those pushing for reconciliation step up and act in good faith and include us in the process. We echo the sentiments of our provincial and national organizations about the right to free, prior and informed consent, as per the United Nations Declaration. We should be looking to other forms of energy, not exposing our future generations to more fossil fuels,” added Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee.

On June 4, people across Canada gathered at 100 MP offices, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ministers Carr, McKenna, and Morneau, to demand the federal government cancel its plans to buy the Kinder Morgan pipeline with taxpayer’s money.