The founder of Project Reconciliation says he views the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion as a means to an end when it comes to a cleaner environment.

“TMX for us is not the silver bullet, but it’s a means to get us out from where we’re at right now and get us into something where we should be,” Delbert Wapass, founder and executive chair of Project Reconciliation – a First Nations-led initiative to buy a majority stake in Trans Mountain - told BNN Bloomberg in an interview Monday.

“If we want to realize clean technology and green energy, we need to have the means to do that because right now we’re just trying to survive.”

Wapass says buying a majority stake in the federally-owned Trans Mountain project is necessary because put simply – “the status quo cannot prevail.”

“The environment is key for us and I feel at the end of the day, if we don’t have majority stake in the environment then we have to accept what we’re being told. Those that have the majority are going to dictate to us again what it is,” he said.

New monitoring and spill-prevention technology are also helping put environmental concerns at ease, Wapass says, adding that he thinks the risk of a leak from the Trans Mountain expansion is slim.

These are all part of the argument he’s making to Indigenous groups that are still opposed to the project.

“We will continue to reach out to these groups. We respect their positions but the bottom line is we’re all under attack by poverty and what poverty has done to our people,” he said.

“For us, we’re willing to come with no agenda and sit down with Western Indigenous Pipeline Group, with the Iron Coalition, and whoever else is out there – to sit down and hammer this out and come out with a unified voice because at the end of the day it shouldn’t be about us, it should be our children and our children’s children.”