A Triad Of Ecological Ruin—The Royal Bank of Canada, The Nature Conservancy and the Multiculturalism-Immigration Industry

The Royal Bank of Canada, The Nature Conservancy and the Multiculturalism-Immigration Industry

Tim Murray

To read the Royal Banks website, one might confuse this commercial Goliath with the Sierra Club or Friends of the Earth. A bank that in 2006 had a net income of $4. 6 billion presents itself as the Jolly Green Giant of corporate Canada. Its own Green Gospel, Environmental Blueprint, is 12 pages in length and talks of “RBCs commitment to climate change, biodiversity, forests, indigenous peoples and our water supply”. It boasts that it has been named one of the worlds top 100 sustainable companies. It also says it is the first Canadian bank listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and claims to be Canadas most respected corporation for the fourth year in a row.

President and CEO Gordon M. Nixon states that RBCs corporate responsibility can be seen in, among other things (how we) support environmental sustainability.

One problem : Mr. Nixon is the same man who spoke in favour of an RBC report in October of 2005 to raise immigration levels from 260,000 to 400,000 immigrants annually.

Mr. Nixon ignores the clear environmental cost of our current quarter million+ immigrants a year, not to mention the cost of the much higher immigration levels he advocates. Urban growth has devoured up to one fifth of the countrys Class 1 farmland, threatened perhaps more than two thirds of its endangered species, and paved-over wetlands. The $3 million federally-commissioned report submitted in 1997 by UBC’s Dr. Michael Healey testified to this. It pointed out that the federal Department of Immigration and the federal Department of the Environment were working at cross purposes. Immigration-driven population growth was threatening to overwhelm the ecosystems of Metro Vancouver-Fraser Valley (as well as similar regions across Canada ).

Today, contrary to what Mr. Nixon and the RBC say, Canada’s 1.08% annual population growth, the highest of all G8 countries, has Canadas biodiversity up against the ropes. Canada cannot meet its Kyoto targets. Canada’s population growth and rising GHG emissions go hand in hand.

The absurd hypocrisy of RBCs stated environmental objective can be found in the proclamation that it is committed to continuing to reduce our environmental footprint, while lobbying to have the government import as many as 400,000 additional footprints each year through Pearson and Vancouver International airports. In its Environmental Blueprint, it states that it will not engage in new financing activities with corporations operating unsustainably in tropical rainforests or High Conservation Forests (etc.), and speaks of comprehensive environmental risk management policies. However, it doesnt say anything of the deforestation that it aids in Canada for the sake of London, Ontario or any other of Canadas growing centres to build the new housing developments the bank finances. Apparently, clearcuts are fair ball in Canada because they are not a cause celebre or in the media spotlight. But, whether it is in the jungles of Borneo or a forest grove in the GTA, the loss of forests is still about the loss of carbon sequestration. The RBC’s vaunted environmental due diligence has a limited application.

It talks only of its determination to direct a significant portion of our philanthropic efforts to environmental causes”. The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a perfect example of the Royal Banks philanthropy. RBC steers money to Nature Conservancy (NC) for each client who switches to electronic bank statements. In return, NC provides RBC with ecological dispensation, the PR brownie points—or greenie points— RBC needs to mask RBC’s raison detre. That, of course, is to focus on giving loans to developers and home buyers so that they can keep on building the sprawling subdivisions with lumber from the forests whose trees and wildlife that Nature Conservancy supposedly cares about. It is a symbiotic relationship. Nature Conservancy gets a big-time corporate bag man to collect donations and RBC buys credibility as an institution that cares about the environment.

The Royal Bank would like to be seen as it sees itself, as the Dr. Jekyll of corporate environmental responsibility, but its position statements are mere green window dressing, an archive of deception. At night, this green corporate citizen becomes a Mr. Hyde who wreaks havoc on biodiversity and the atmosphere by underwriting and pushing for rapid, unchecked economic and population growth.

The benefits of runaway population growth to the major lending institutions are self-evident. More people means more demand. Demand for car loans, credit lines, and mortgages. Recently, Canadian Immigration Reform (January 2/08) summarized the Royal Bank’s efforts: Its about importing potential RBC clients. Canadas financial institutions realize that future client growth, thus profits, resides in immigration. No CEO wants to be in charge when share prices decline or remain stagnant.

What is critical to the understanding of RBCs immigration politics is that the origin or complexion of immigrants is as important as their number. Canada must, CEO Nixon contends, unleash the power of diversity if it wants to improve productivity and increase its standard of living. The notion that one must have a diverse and heterogeneous society to achieve high productivity should come as strange news to largely monocultural, non-diverse Japan and China.

Presently, 80% of Canadas visible minorities are recent immigrants and almost 75% of them are visible minorities, who constitute 17% of the population. RBC wants to tap into this talent pool, hire and promote it and capture its business. It offers scholarships only to those born outside Canada. Most telling is that on the home page on Royal Bank Scholarships for New Canadians, there is only one face (a Chinese one) presented to the reader, while on the Application checklist page, three of the six young people pictured are people of colour. Applicants are asked to write an essay on how new immigrants have contributed to this country No negative impacts are entertained.

The underlying assumption of the literature is that due to its aging population, Canada will soon depend on immigration to grow its labour force and will have to compete for talented immigrants in the global marketplace. Unfortunately, only about 20% of the 260,000 who arrive every year have developed their talents into skills. Most merely provide us with a superfluous population that generates GHG, crowds out wildlife habitat and, according to a Statscan report of May 2006, depresses wages and displaces Canadian-born and recent immigrants. And the so-called skills shortage is really, in the words of one commentator, a shortage in counter help at fast food restaurants.

One must also question the nature of the diversity that RBC champions. It has not only co-opted the language of environmentalism with its liberal use of words like sustainable, footprint and green. It has also adopted the jargon of multiculturalism. In a company committed to building and maintaining an inclusive and respectful workplace, it is natural that every office needs a Multicultural Calendar like the one advertised in one of RBC’s links. In the month of January alone, 11 dates are set aside for commemoration of “diversity”. Here are come examples: Guru Gobind Singhs birthday (a Sikh holiday) on the 5th ; Pongal (a Tamil harvest festival) on the 14th ; Muharramon (Muslim holiday) on the 20th. But this kind of “diversity” is decorative. It is the fig leaf concealing a more calculated and limited focus. The kind of multiculturalism it has in mind is more like that of Richmond, B.C.—a monoculture of the recently-arrived.

RBC, you see, is in pursuit of a more narrow, lucrative demographic—the South Asian population. Now 3% of the country, South Asians , as the fastest growing minority in Canada will double that percentage within the decade. By 2017, they will reach two million, equivalent to the number of Chinese-Canadians. The prospect of four million Canadians of South Asian and Chinese origin, augmented perhaps by even higher immigration levels, has RBC salivating. Clients of these cultural backgrounds save more, and take out more and bigger mortgages than other groups. Bank branches located in Asian enclaves flourish. Simply put, Chinese and South Asians are a boon for the banking business. (See insideToronto.com Jan.17/08) It is not likely then, that the Royal Bank will be calling for a repeal of the White Paper of 1966 and a return to traditional immigration patterns. In a sense, RBCs immigration agenda is the opposite of the White Australia policy, but under a politically correct banner: The Nearly All Asian Canadian Mass Immigration Policy —better expressed in RBC’s code language: Diversity.

From this unflattering portrait a question emerges: Where does the pressure for growth begin in Canada? It is promoted and executed by Ottawa’s vote seekers, but it is orchestrated by the big banks like RBC and big businesses who work with and pressure government to deliver population policy that will create the profits they want. A look at the political contributions made by the six biggest banks from 1982 to 2003 reveals just what they want from government. RBC really doesnt care a rats backend for Official Multiculturalism. Thats a smokescreen. Otherwise they wouldnt have contributed all that dough to the Reform Party and its successor, the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance. No, their bottom line is population growth (an economic stimulus for RBC). They also want low corporate taxes, that is, a tax policy customized for Chartered Banks and not for Food Banks. And the Liberal and Conservative Parties they subsidized so generously have delivered with the Grafkin-Angus Report that recommends just that. Meanwhile, food banks in Ontario have grown 14.3% since 2001.

To summarize, RBC and its corporate competitors are not beneficent enterprises. Chip off the RBC’s green paint and the statements about corporate social responsibility and Canadians will see a standard corporation dedicated to making profits for its shareholders and pursuing the obsolete and lethal paradigm of economic growth. But RBC does not work alone. It lobbies Ottawa for immigration at absurd levels and a growth rate which will accelerate the destruction of our environment. Then, it cloaks its malevolence by green pronouncements, trivial green corporate practices and an unseemly arrangement with a high profile conservation group which lends the bank legitimacy in return for hush money. This group accepts the banks money in return for saying nothing about the fact that immigration is destroying the forests and wildlife it claims to be the guardian of.

The collusion of big banks, environmental groups and the governments Multicultural Industry is a partnership in crime. The RBC, Nature Conservancy, and Multicultural-Immigration Industry are A Triad of Ecological Ruin.