Former Liberal MP Bob Rae is the new chairman of the board of a British Columbia-based partnership of 15 First Nations that is preparing to implement a major pipeline deal.

Rae, who served as interim leader for the Liberals until Justin Trudeau was elected, will head the board of directors of FN (PTP) Group Limited Partnership, also known as FNLP.

Earlier this year, the group signed a commercial agreement worth $200 million with the Pacific Trail Pipelines Limited Partnership, the pipeline component of the proposed Kitimat LNG Project that would transport liquified natural gas to a terminal on the B.C. coast. The 15 First Nations in the partnership are along the proposed pipeline route between Summit Lake and Kitimat, B.C.

"Bob Rae has a proven track record of genuine concern for First Nations and the advancement of their interests," Chief Ray Morris, a member of the FNLP executive committee, said in a news release. "We are fortunate that he has chosen to offer his experience, network, judgment and diplomatic skills to FNLP as one of British Columbia's most important LNG projects continues to move forward."  

Rae 'honoured' by appointment

The appointment adds to Rae's growing list of activities since he left the House of Commons last month. He stepped down, he said, because of his commitment to represent the Matawa Tribal Council in negotiations to develop the resource-rich Ring of Fire region 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont.

The former Ontario premier is also teaching at the University of Toronto.

"I am honoured to have been asked to assist in this process," Rae said in the news release. "FNLP is an innovative model for how industry, governments and First Nations can cooperate effectively with respect to major economic development projects."

Rae also said that "the successful implementation of the commercial agreement between First Nations, the PTP LP and British Columbia will be critical to the project moving forward successfully, which is important for the economy of the whole country."