Municipalities that do not have an agreement range from opposition to the project – often due to environmental concerns and a lack of consultation – to communities that have decided not to contact the company at all. Some municipalities are committed to the employment opportunity project, but have not signed agreements. On May 29, 2018, the Canadian government announced its intention to purchase the existing trans-mountain pipeline and infrastructure for the expansion at a cost of $4.5 billion. Ottawa says it will respect existing incentive agreements between Kinder Morgan and Aboriginal communities. Officials from the Department of Finance have not been able to confirm exactly how the consultation and commitment to municipalities will continue without agreement, except that the project “will continue to meet all the requirements of the National Energy Council.” First Nations have good economic reasons to support pipelines because their right to consult has allowed them to negotiate with proponents of lucrative mutual benefit agreements. While many details remain confidential for commercial reasons, such an agreement typically offers a first nation several million dollars in advance, plus tens of millions over the life of the pipeline. Supporters of Coastal GasLink`s First Nation also receive cash payments from the B.C. resource sharing policy. In addition to these cash payments, MBAs also include valuable guarantees for employment, training and contractual relationships that, in the long run, can be worth more than money. Trans Mountain has signed agreements with 59 Aboriginal groups in British Columbia and Alberta, representing more than $500 million in benefits and opportunities for Aboriginal communities. As the Canadian government is in full possession and is looking for long-term investors for the project, we will continue to update the database.
“These agreements demonstrate our continued commitment to working in the mutual interest through differing concerns and views. We will continue to build on these relationships and work to maintain the trust that has enabled the support we have received from Aboriginal communities,” said Ian Anderson, President and CEO of Trans Mountain Corporation. “The agreements are a symbol and recognition of a common respect and help ensure that indigenous groups are able to harness the economic value of expansion in a way that creates a lasting legacy for their people.” Until February 7, 2020, the project has signed 58 agreements with indigenous groups worth more than $500 million.