Canadian banks investing in companies involved with nuclear weapons: report

Andy Radia

A new report by a European 'peace organization' claims that hundreds of well-reputed financial institutions from around the world are investing billions of dollars in companies that are involved in the production, maintenance and modernization of nuclear weapons.

Eight of those of those financial institutions, they say, are right here in Canada.

The report, published by IKV Pax Christi (a partner of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons- ICAN), says that the Royal Bank of Canada, the Bank of Montreal, Burgundy Asset Management, Gryphon International Investment Corporation, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, Power Corporation of Canada, Scotia Bond Co., Scotiabank and the Toronto Dominion Bank, are involved in the financing of these multi-national conglomerates to the tune of $4.49 billion.

"After all the financial scandals, crises and promises to act in a more responsible and transparent way, here is the evidence that these same financial institutions continue to make unethical investments, into these weapons of mass destruction” Susi Snyder, co-author of the report wrote as part of a press release.

"As we have seen from the chemical weapons attacks in Syria, there is a real risk that as long as weapons of mass destruction are not comprehensively eliminated, they may be used — these investments in terror must be stopped."

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The list of companies, involved in the nuclear weapons business, might surprise you. They include the likes of Boeing, Honeywell International and Rolls-Royce.

Here are some examples of the relationships between those companies and Canadian financial institutions as outlined in the report.

In March 2010, Boeing secured a credit facility with a value of USD 865 million, due October 2011. The proceeds were used
for general corporate purposes. Royal Bank of Canada participated in the 12-bank syndicate, committing an amount of USD 50 million.

In November 2012, General Dynamics issued bonds with a total value of USD 2,400 million. The issue was split in three
tranches: a USD 1,000 million 2.250% tranche due November 2022, a USD 900 million 1.000% tranche due November 2017
and a USD 500 million 3.600% tranche due November 2042. The proceeds were used for reduce indebtedness and general
corporate purposes. Scotia Capital, a subsidiary of Scotiabank, participated in the 18 bank syndicate, underwriting an amount of
USD 60 million.

In April 2012, Honeywell International secured a USD 3,000 million revolving credit facility due April 2017. The proceeds were used for refinancing bank debt and general corporate purposes. Toronto-Dominion Bank participated in the 16 bank syndicate, committing an estimated amount of USD 182.1 million

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Embassy Magazine attempted to contact the Canadian firms for a response. Most chose not to comment, while others were vague.

A representative from Royal Bank said that they avoid financing of companies "manufacturing or trading in equipment or material for nuclear, chemical or biological warfare."

"RBC is committed to being a responsible lender and practices a high level of due diligence prior to lending funds to aerospace and defense companies," they said.

The report writers recommend that finance companies develop comprehensive policies prohibiting any investment in nuclear weapon producers and that governments legislate against it.

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