Wet’suwet’en water protector Eve Saint to RBC CEO Dave McKay: “You are not a climate leader, you are a leader in genocide”
Photo by Banking on a Better Future.
On October 27, Wet’suwet’en water protector Eve Saint spoke at a protest outside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto as the London, Ontario-based Ivey Business School presented RBC CEO Dave McKay with their Ivey Business Leader award.
Ivey notes: “More than 400 guests, including some of Canada’s most distinguished business leaders, attended the formal dinner at The Ritz-Carlton. The award honours individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of business in Canada, and demonstrated leadership in both business and their communities.”
The day before the award ceremony RBC released its 2030 emission reduction targets. McKay claimed: “RBC is committed to helping build a cleaner future.”
But Saint said of McKay: “You are not a climate leader, you are a leader in genocide. You violate Indigenous rights, you permit modern day genocide against Indigenous people.”
RBC is financing the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline now being built on Wet’suwet’en territory without free, prior and informed consent.
Stand.earth has documented: “RBC is among top commercial banks providing the CGL project with working capital, including CAD $275 million in project finance, a co-financed $6.5 billion loan, a $40 million corporate loan, and $200 million in co-financed working capital – while acting as financial advisor for the pipeline.”
As McKay received the award, Coastal GasLink is drilling under Wedzin Kwa as the salmon spawn. Gidimt’en water protector Molly Wickham has warned: “Our way of life is at risk. Wedzin Kwa is the river that feeds all of Wet’suwet’en territory and gives life to our nation.”
The definition of genocide in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide includes: “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
Charges of genocide
On April 24, 2019, Freda Huson (Howilhkat), the director of the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre, spoke at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City. Her centre is located a kilometre from the route of the Coastal GasLink pipeline and is on the road leading to their 9A Lodge man camp.
She stated: “I am here today to make UN aware of the continued genocide happening in Canada and to demand that our Indigenous rights and laws are respected.”
Last year, Wickham called on allies and supporters to come to Wet’suwet’en territory “for all the children stolen at gunpoint by the RCMP… to stand up and say the genocide will no longer happen on Indigenous lands.”
She explained: “Our identity as Indigenous peoples is tied to the land, to our water, to the fact that we harvest salmon every year. We know that the people who are killing themselves are the people who don’t have that connection to who they are as an Indigenous person. And if we don’t have that our people will die. And that’s the genocide.”
Within weeks of Wickham saying this, the RCMP launched a raid on Wet’suwet’en territory.
Days later on November 24, 2021, MP Leah Gazan tweeted: “Genocide against indigenous peoples upholding their rights and sovereignty is so normalized in Canada that when videos are released of doors being taken down with axes and chainsaws by militarized RCMP, it’s not a breaking news story. That is called normalized genocide!”
Click here for more on the Decolonial Solidarity day of action on Saturday November 5 that will demand RBC defund Coastal GasLink.
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Video of the RCMP raid on the cabin and arrest of Wickham.