Canadian banks financing pipelines leads to the criminalization of Indigenous land defenders

Published by Brent Patterson on

Ojibwe land defender Taysha Martineau at Camp Migizi near the Line 3 pipeline construction site in Cloquet, Minnesota. Photo by Mary Annette Pember.

In March 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Council affirmed that human rights defenders play an important role in fulfilling the Paris Agreement. And in July 2020, Global Witness documented: “On average, four defenders have been killed every week since the creation of the Paris Climate agreement in December 2015.”

Now the just released Banking on Climate Chaos 2021 report documents: “In the 5 years since the Paris Agreement was adopted, the world’s 60 largest private sector banks financed fossil fuels with $3.8 trillion.”

It highlights Canadian banks have financed fossil fuels as follows: RBC ($160 billion), TD ($121 billion), Scotiabank ($114 billion), Bank of Montreal ($97 billion) and CIBC ($67 billion). That totals: $559 million, more than half-a-trillion dollars.

The report further notes that three Canadian banks are among the “dirty dozen” of fossil fuel financiers: RBC (#5), TD (#9), and Scotiabank (#11).

Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline

The case studies in the report include the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline.

It notes: “As of March 2021, there are at least 29 banks acting as lenders to seven Enbridge credit facilities totaling $12.9 billion, with participation from banks such as Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, MUFG, and TD.”

RAN has also previously noted that TD has provided $13.59 billion in financing to Enbridge between 2016 and 2020.

Earlier this week, Ojibwe land defender Tara Houska tweeted: “200+ folks face criminal charges for protecting our territory from Line 3.”

TC Energy Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline

The report also notes the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline.

It notes: “In May 2020, TC Energy secured a $4.7 billion loan to build Coastal GasLink. Twenty-six banks signed up to directly fund this pipeline’s construction. In October, the banks upped Coastal GasLink’s allowance by an additional $122 million.”

It then lists the Canadian banks supporting the Coastal GasLink pipeline: Bank of Montreal, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, TD.

On January 7, 2019, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested 14 Wet’suwet’en land defenders blocking construction of this pipeline and upholding their right of free, prior and informed consent. A second police raid on February 6-10, 2020 resulted in the arrest of an additional 22 land defenders.

The demand that banks fully respect human rights

One of the key demands made in the report is that banks must: “Fully respect all human rights, particularly the rights of Indigenous Peoples, including their rights to their water and lands and the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent, as articulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

It adds, banks must: “Prohibit all financing for projects and companies that abuse human rights, including Indigenous rights.”

To read the full 157-page report, please click here.

The report was produced by these organizations:

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