EDC says it carried out ‘rigorous due diligence’ before loan for Coastal GasLink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory

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.”

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

On May 11, Le Devoir further reported, “EDC says it carried out ‘rigorous due diligence’ before granting the loan.”

According to that news report, EDC’s funding decision summary says:

“EDC assesses the financial and non-financial risks associated with potential transactions and determines whether they comply with our policies, including those on the environment, climate change, human rights, social performance and corporate integrity.”

“[EDC recognizes that] the project continues to be opposed by a group of hereditary chiefs from the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, who claim to be the legitimate decision-makers of this nation, not to have been duly consulted and not to have consented to the project”

“[However, EDC believes TC Energy] has demonstrated a great ability to manage environmental and social risks.”

In this opinion piece published in The Globe and Mail on March 11, University College London law professor Barnali Choudhury (who also holds a law degree in Canada) argues that Canada should adopt due diligence legislation.

In November 2019, Peace Brigades International helped organize this session at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights that emphasized, “the obligation of states to protect human rights defenders at risk by encouraging and/or mandating robust human rights due diligence by both international and national financial institutions and companies.”

While the Canadian government’s export credit agency has approved this loan for the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called on Canada to suspend construction on this pipeline.

You can use this Urgent Action petition to send an email to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to encourage him to act on this UN resolution.

The message can be personalized if you wish to add in your own comments in support of due diligence and upholding Indigenous rights.

Photo: On March 4, 350.org, in partnership with Leadnow and Oil Change International, delivered over 35,000 signatures to Export Development Canada saying ‘no to public financing’ for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

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