EDC loans up to $500 million for Coastal GasLink pipeline despite UN resolution on Wet’suwet’en land defenders

Published by Brent Patterson on

On May 4, the Toronto Star reported, “The federal government’s export credit agency [Export Development Canada] will lend up to $500 million to build the Coastal GasLink, a natural gas pipeline that sparked a national protest movement and reckoning over the Liberal administration’s commitment to Indigenous reconciliation.”

“EDC says it will lend between $250 million and $500 million to the company building the project, based on an agreement signed April 28.”

“Na’Moks, a hereditary chief of the Wet’suwet’en nation in northern British Columbia [says] that the hereditary leadership of the Wet’suwet’en remains staunchly opposed to the project that crosses territory the nation has never ceded to settler governments.”

That article adds, “EDC spokesperson Jessica Draker said by email that the loan was approved after a ‘rigorous due diligence review’. The review included an assessment of the project’s impact on ‘First Nation relations’ … according to a synopsis EDC posted online.”

And yet in this resolution the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called on Canada to stop construction on this pipeline.

In December 2019, this UN Committee of independent experts said it was “disturbed by forced removal, disproportionate use of force, harassment and intimidation by law enforcement officials against indigenous peoples who peacefully oppose large-scale development projects on their traditional territories.”

It then called on Canada “to immediately halt the construction and suspend all permits and approvals for the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in the traditional and unceded lands and territories of the Wet’suwet’en people, until they grant their free, prior and informed consent, following the full and adequate discharge of the duty to consult.”

PBI-Canada has provided this online Urgent Action platform to enable people to send an email to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to take action in accordance with the UN Committee’s resolution before June 17th. That’s the date the Canadian government hopes to win a vote for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) outlines state and corporate responsibilities to protect human rights.

These Guiding Principles affirm that: “States should take additional steps to protect against human rights abuses by business enterprises that are owned or controlled by the State, or that receive substantial support and services from State agencies such as export credit agencies and official investment insurance or guarantee agencies, including, where appropriate, by requiring human rights due diligence.”

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