Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi speaks about the government’s plan for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project during a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday October 3, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi speaks about the government’s plan for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project during a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday October 3, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

Minister has already met with 22 bands in Trans Mountain consultation redo

Redo follows August ruling in which court said original pipeline consultation wasn’t good enough

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi has personally met with leaders of nearly two dozen Indigenous communities since the Federal Court of Appeal struck down federal approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in August.

The government is doing additional consultations with Indigenous communities affected by the pipeline expansion after the court said the original consultation was insufficient.

One of the court’s chief objections was that the bureaucrats who engaged with Indigenous communities listened and documented the concerns they raised but had no authority to do anything about those concerns or even answer some of the Indigenous groups’ questions.

Sohi says this time that has changed and he has a mandate to address the concerns raised where possible, and explain why not when it isn’t.

He says he has already met with 22 Indigenous communities, including leaders from most of those that sued Ottawa over the pipeline.

READ MORE: Pipeline opponents blast Trans Mountain re-approval plan

Sohi maintains the Liberal government is not assuming the outcome of the consultations — even though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the pipeline is going to be built and Ottawa laid down $4.5 billion to buy the project over the summer.

The Canadian Press

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