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RBC: Harming Reconciliation

RBC finances projects that lack Indigenous consent and violate land rights, and has no policy on Free Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous peoples. Allowing RBC to get bigger exacerbates these longstanding problems of colonial racist practices. 
 

RBC, like all Canadian banks, has a long history of colonialist racist practices that disproportionately harm Indigenous peoples. Even today, RBC's business practices set back efforts at reconciliation.

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Financing CGL

RBC is a lead financier of fossil fuel projects that violate Indigenous rights and cause violence to land defenders, including the Coastal Gas Link and TransMountain pipelines. RBC is a leader in financing tar sands expansion, which devastates Indigenous communities in Northern Alberta.

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Internal Redwashing

 RBC claims to value “reconciliation”, but a report found its internal practices consist largely of performative, symbolic gestures like training and partnerships, while their core business continues to focus on extractive resource development projects that disproportionately impact Indigenous peoples.

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Racist practices

At the RBC 2023 AGM in Saskatoon RBC displayed the worst form of corporate colonialism, relegating Indigenous leaders and those from frontline communities to a separate room away from the CEO and executives, and militarizing the meeting with police roadblocks, heavy handed security, and even snipers.

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Financing rights violations

Like all Canadian banks, RBC has a long history of colonialist, racist practices that disproportionately harm Indigenous peoples. Even today RBC’s business practices and funding decisions set back efforts at reconciliation.

RBC finances projects that lack Indigenous consent and violate land rights, and has no policy on the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples. Allowing RBC to get even bigger exacerbates these longstanding problems of colonial racist practices.

RBC is a lead financier of fossil fuel projects that violate Indigenousrights and cause violence to land defenders, including the Coastal Gas Link and TransMountain pipelines. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has sent Canada and BC three official rebukes, highlighting serious concerns about the escalation of “force, surveillance, and criminalization of land defenders and peaceful protesters to intimidate, remove, and forcibly evict Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en Nations from their traditional lands.”

RBC is also a leader in financing tar sands expansion, which devastates Indigenous communities in Northern Alberta with toxic pollution and many other impacts to wildlife, food, water and air. RBC financed $10B in “extreme” fossil fuels, such as coal, fracking, and tar sands in 2022 alone, surpassing their 2021 level.

RBC doesn’t only finance extreme fossil fuels and projects that violate FPIC in Canada, but all over the world. RBC is a lead financier to the companies Gran Tierra and TotalEnergies, which are forcing mega-projects through some of the most biodiverse regions of the planet. Gran Tierra’s operations threaten parts of the Amazon rainforest in Colombia and TotalEnergies’ EACOP project will disrupt precious nature reserves for elephants, lions, and chimpanzees in Uganda and Tanzania. EACOP alone is expected to displace over 100,000 people and threaten the drinking water of 40 million.


Performative, symbolic gestures

Like other Canadian banks RBC claims to value “reconciliation”, but a report by the Yellowhead Institute found its internal practices consist largely of performative, symbolic gestures like training and partnerships, while their core business continues to focus on extractive resource development projects that disproportionately impact Indigenous peoples.

RBC has no policy on UNDRIP or Free Prior and Informed Consent(FPIC) and has resisted pressure from shareholders and Indigenous leaders to implement one. RBC’s lack of a robust due diligence process or a meaningful FPIC policy in funding Coastal GasLink was the first failure leading to the crisis of police brutality and Indigenous rights violations on Wet’suwet’en territory.


Corporate colonialism in action today

At the RBC 2023 AGM in Saskatoon RBC displayed the worst form of corporate colonialism, relegating Indigenous leaders and those from frontline communities to a separate room away from the CEO and executives, and militarizing the meeting with police roadblocks, heavy handed security, and even snipers.

Read a first hand account from the meeting here.


Approving RBC’s takeover of HSBC, in light of their track record of Indigenous rights violations and lack of an FPIC policy, flies in the face of the Canadian government and society’s efforts at true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
 

Stop the RBC Takeover of HSBC

Trudeau and Freeland must to say no to more corporate power, higher cost of living, and more climate chaos.

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