Financing to TransCanada subsidiary building Coastal GasLink Pipelines increased

Rainforest Action Network shuts down a Chase Bank branch in San Francisco.Photo courtesy: Laurel Sutherlin/Rainforest Action Network.

Banks complicit in violating Indigenous rights without consent from hereditary Wet’suwet’en leadership

News Release

Rainforest Action Network

A white paper released today by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) reveals that in spite of Wet’suwet’en opposition to TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline, at least 11 banks notably increased financing to the company behind the USD $4.5 billion pipeline. Last December, those banks participated in two new loans, led by JPMorgan Chase, which replaced $1.5 billion in credit, with a staggering $5.5 billion — making for a two-thirds increase in TransCanada’s total available credit.

The white paper highlights four banks in particular ― JPMorgan Chase, Bank of Montreal, Deutsche Bank, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce ― as the leading bankers of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, in virtue of their leading roles on the two December 2018 loans, two older loans, nine recent bond issuances, and a key asset sale.

“For these banks to profit from the abuse of Indigenous Peoples’ sovereign rights not only flies in the face of many of their own Indigenous Peoples policies, it’s morally wrong ― and that’s what banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of Montreal are doing when they fund TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink and Keystone XL pipelines,” said Patrick McCully, Climate and Energy Program Director at Rainforest Action Network.

The hereditary chiefs of all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en are in direct opposition to the Coastal GasLink Pipeline, and have set up camps to protect their unceded lands, as recognized by the Canadian Supreme Court in the landmark 1997 Delgamuukw decision. But last week, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police trespassed on the land of the Wet’suwet’en people and arrested 14 land defenders in heavily militarized fashion, following the orders of TransCanada. This is a clear violation of Article 10 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which states that “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their land or territories.”

Dr. Karla Tait, a member of the Unist’ot’en House Group of the Gilseyhu Clan and Director of Clinical Programming for the Unist’ot’en Healing Center said:

“These actions demonstrate continued use of colonial power and force to oppress First Nations by removing us from our lands, using race-based assumptions that privilege Canadian law and critical infrastructure over the law and infrastructure of the original people who stewarded and protected these lands for millenia. This power rests in the militarized rifles police carry into our territories, but it also rests in the financial investments that are pushing Coastal Gas Link forward. In order for true reconciliation, for our society to overcome the violence and traumatic experiences of colonization we need to right these wrongs. We each need to do what we can as individuals to secure a sustainable and better future. We need to speak for the land, for the values we want our society to be centred on. We need to speak and act in the many different ways that will help actualize this new reality. We are standing up to protect the land and heal, how will you stand with us.”

TransCanada was granted an interim injunction to start pre-construction, even though the company does not have the free, prior, and informed consent of the Wet’suwet’en people to build it.

Further Reading

RAN statement condemning the police raid

Details on TransCanada increase in credit

​Related coverage

14 arrested as RCMP and military breach Unist’ot’en Camp checkpoint

55 rallies planned in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en land defenders

British Columbia court to issue amendment to Wet'suwet'en injunction decision

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