RBC official refuses to let Indigenous delegates, including Wet’suwet’en Hereditary leadership representatives into AGM in Saskatoon

Today at the annual general meeting (AGM) in Saskatoon RBC’s attempt to divide and threaten with arrest and physical violence the Indigenous delegation – who all have received necessary proxies – and shut out Wet’suwet’en Hereditary leadership is further confirmation of the bank’s commitment to corporate colonialism. According to some RBC officials there was not enough room to accommodate all the delegates. (Greenpeace)

RBC has opted to apply a reserve system to its AGM, forcing Indigenous delegates into a second class room, with a colour coded pass.

Attempts by shareholders to hold RBC accountable and to seek change has resulted in the bank recommending the rejection of shareholder proposals around climate targets and Indigenous sovereignty as outlined below:

The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, with the B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) brought forward a shareholder resolution to push RBC to operationalize free, prior and informed consent into its corporate policies and activities. While BMO and TD have expressed meaningful willingness to improve its policies, RBC has flat out opted to recommend the rejection of the proposal. (Greenpeace)

Stand.earth filed a resolution for RBC to end financing for fossil fuel expansion. Meanwhile the New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and three of the New York City Retirement Systems (the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System, and Board of Education Retirement System) have brought forward a shareholder resolution asking RBC to set absolute greenhouse gas reduction targets. To date, the bank has only set targets for reducing the amount of greenhouse gases per dollar invested, which allows the growth of its financed emissions. (Greenpeace)

This irresponsible and disrespectful move by RBC comes days after traditional owners of the Tiwi Islands in so-called Australia lodged human rights complaints against 12 banks – including RBC – for involvement in a $4.7 billion gas project. 

All of this highlights that RBC has no interest in reconciliation or the rights of Indigenous peoples. They are more focused on their bottom line at the expense of human rights.

RBC is currently under investigation by the Competition Bureau of Canada for allegedly misleading consumers with climate-related advertising while continuing to increase financing for coal, oil and gas. (Greenpeace)

RBC bank is the primary financier of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which lacks consent from Hereditary Chiefs, the rightful titleholders of the land.

Demonstration across Canada 

Last Saturday demonstrators gathered in 40 cities to voice their opposition to the Royal Bank of Canada’s funding of fossil fuel projects.

The protests, part of a nation-wide effort dubbed Fossil Fools Day, unfolded in major cities including Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver.

The 670-kilometer project, which is currently under construction and runs through Wet’suwet’en traditional territory in British Columbia, has been the focus of ongoing demonstrations and arrests during the last few years. Hereditary chiefs oppose the pipeline, while the elected council of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and others nearby have agreed to support it.

Earlier last week at least five Wet’suwet’en land and water protectors were arrested when Gidimt’en checkpoint was raided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Gideimt’en, members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, have tried to block the construction of the CGL pipeline through their territory.

Rédaction Montréal