Exclusive race-based pipeline purchase deals for First Nations groups are not fair

Landowners Want In!

By Dave Core

Believe it or not, an energy transport company may actually be interested in taking the beleaguered Trans Mountain Expansion project (TMX) off of Ottawa’s hands.

Pembina Pipeline Corporation formed a partnership in 2021 with Western Indigenous Pipeline Group (WIPG) for the purpose of pursuing an Indigenous-led equity stake in Trans Mountain.

The project, purchased by the Trudeau Liberals in 2018 for $4.5 BILLION, has seen its budget blow past $30 BILLION so far, and still isn’t scheduled for completion until late next year. Allegedly.

TMX will be First Nations-owned

So the Pembina WIPG deal won’t close any time soon.

And before that deal can happen every First Nations community along the TMX corridor must be consulted.

Consulted and given first right of refusal to purchase equity in the project.

It appears clear TMX will be majority First Nations owned.

And eventually First Nations operated too, according to the WIPG website.

We addressed the main implications of this deal for landowners in this month’s cover story, UNDRIP and Reconciliation Chickens Come Home to Roost.

But I object to this whole scenario for another reason.

For years CAEPLA’s slogan has been ‘Landowners Want In!

So… my question is, where’s the opportunity for farmers, ranchers, woodlot and other rural pipeline landowners to invest?

Where are the loan guarantees and other sweetheart financing from Ottawa for non Indigenous “stakeholders” to buy in?

Race-based giveaway?

And not only on the TMX deal.

As you read in the aforementioned article in this edition of the Pipeline Observer newsletter, Enbridge CEO Greg Ebel is all in on having Ottawa finance First Nations acquisition of pipelines.

It’s a no brainer that TC Energy (formerly TransCanada Pipelines) will be on board with this race-based giveaway, too.

Now, I am not here to give financial advice.

TMX has been a boondoggle from the word Go, and will likely have soaked taxpayers for $40 BILLION by the time the project completes.

I have no idea how TMX will be able to recover its costs by charging anything close to market rate tolls for shippers.

So landowners like you might not even want a piece of the action.

But my point is, long suffering pipeline landowners at least deserve to have the option to buy equity in the infrastructure crossing their land.

As it stands, now all you’ll be getting is the privilege of purchasing pipelines for First Nations governments and other organizations with your tax dollars — and then hosting the new owners on your property.

This just isn’t right or fair, and with your support, CAEPLA will be tackling this issue early in the new year.


Dave Core is the founder of CAEPLA. He grew up on a farm with pipelines. That, and his early experience helping other pipeline landowners resist expropriation turned Dave into a student and promoter of property rights. Dave has worked in politics, as a poultry farmer, and owned a trucking business. Today he is CAEPLA's Director of Special Projects, and principal at Dave Core & Associates, a consulting firm focused on helping landowners of all kinds solve problems with government, regulators, and corporations.


Pipeline Observer


Landowner-driven, CAEPLA advocates on behalf of farmers, ranchers, and other rural landowners to promote safety and environmental protection through respect for your property rights.