— RBC staff are sharing their thoughts on the AGM, Coastal Gas Link, and RBC’s fossil fuel funding. Share your thoughts in this confidential survey

Here’s a run down of what happened at RBC’s eventful 2023 AGM in Saskatoon:

Indigenous voices:

Why am I being put in a seperate room? I have a proxy vote. I am allowed to be in there. You say you listen to indigenous voices? Well then why are we being separated from the main room

The RBC AGM in Saskatoon got off to a bad start. Indigenous land defenders travelled the AGM to discuss RBC’s ongoing funding of Coastal Gas Link, a huge pipeline running through sacred Wetʼsuwetʼen territory without consent. Black and Indigenous leaders were greeted by heavy-handed security who segregated them into a separate room. This is despite the fact that they had proxy votes which gave them full rights to be in the main room.

The Wetʼsuwetʼen First Nation has been subject to police raids, armed arrests and abuse as they blockade RBC’s Coastal Gas Link pipeline. They have not given their consent for the pipeline to go through their land. RBC funding dangerous methane

In one of the most moving moments of the AGM – Roishetta Ozane founder of the Vessel Project of Louisiana spoke to the board. She implored the board chair, mother to mother, to consider the impacts of its financing of dirty methane gas along the gulf coast. She spoke of how the methane gas that RBC is funding in her community is giving local children asthma:

“If you do not have to worry about your water being green, pink or brown, then you do not understand what you are causing”

RBC is a financier of 7 LNG, or methane gas, export terminals in Texas and Louisiana. This is in addition to over a dozen of other oil and gas projects in the region. CEO Dave McKay later claimed that gas is clean.

An upset from shareholders

In the voting, nearly 1 in 3 shareholders voted for a proposal asking to get free, prior, and informed consent from Indigenous people for projects it finances. This is a massive victory that most other shareholder votes are far more unanimous. This is sending RBC execs a message that a large section of their shareholders are concerned about their treatment of Indigenous people.

The press got involved…quickly.

Whilst RBC claims to listen to indigenous voices, they cut off questions from indigenous leaders with McKay and the Chair saying to “shut the mic down” – this is referring to the mic in the segregated room. As the AGM was closing, indigenous leaders joined the rally outside. Cameras started appearing very quickly and interviews were being requested with the segregated attendees. RBC is being portrayed in the news as ignoring crucial voices:

This is to add to a tide of recent bad press for RBC:

RBC is Canada’s biggest fossil fuel funder. And it’s currently violating the rights of indigenous leaders. RBC must stop funding climate violence.

— RBC staff are sharing their thoughts on the AGM, Coastal Gas Link, and RBC’s fossil fuel funding. Share your thoughts in this confidential survey


Credit: Climate Justice Saskatoon

Credit: Climate Justice Saskatoon