The Gidimt’en Checkpoint has issued a letter urging more than 35 Canadian and international investors to withdraw their support from the Coastal GasLink pipeline in Northern British Columbia, arguing that financing the project breaks “investor commitments to racial justice, reconciliation, and social responsibility.”
Addressed to investors in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States—including major Canadian and U.S. banks and colossal fossil Royal Dutch Shell—the letter warns that the pipeline “violates Wet’suwet’en rights and title, and lacks consent of Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs,” says a Gidimt’en statement.
Flagging the actions of Canada’s Big Five financial institutions in particular, the statement adds that, “against the backdrop of the banks’ recent public commitments to reconciliation, the banks’ hypocrisy in financing Coastal GasLink is especially striking.”
Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham) of the Wet’suwet’en Nation said investors that are serious about those commitments cannot finance projects that threaten Wet’suwet’en sovereignty and lands. “Otherwise, when companies talk of reconciliation, it’s just empty promises—and we’ve had more than enough of those already,” she said.
Rob Henderson, former chief economist of markets at National Australia Bank, said investing in Coastal GasLink is “a huge step backward” for his past employer. Financing the project is “a real blow to the bank’s standing with the increasingly influential corporate social responsibility investment community, both because it is a fossil fuel enabling development, and… is in direct conflict with the wishes of local Indigenous people,” he said in the statement.
Among the 100-plus organizations pledging solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en are 350.org, Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network in Australia, Oil Change International, Rainforest Action Network, and Giniw Collective, an Indigenous and women-led front-line resistance group in the United States.