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"The Royal Bank, last year, refused to open an account for the "No Committee 2006" saying it believed the committee was violating the human rights of gays and lesbians."
August 19, 2002 4:06 PM   Subscribe

"The Royal Bank, last year, refused to open an account for the "No Committee 2006" saying it believed the committee was violating the human rights of gays and lesbians." (The No Committee being an anti-gay group whose only reason to exist is to oppose bringing the gay games to Montreal.) The Royal Bank stated that "we will not knowingly open and operate bank accounts for groups whose express purpose is to incite discrimination against minorities." (via Soapboxgirls)
posted by monkeymike (30 comments total)

 
The only information I could find on this, aside from Gaysports.com and Soapboxgirls was on various right wing sites, who take a rather dim view of the Royal Bank's decision.
posted by monkeymike at 4:11 PM on August 19, 2002


I say good for them...It's rare to find a corporation that practices what it preaches. No one is obligated to open an account at any specific bank--If I were a member of the NO group I wouldn't have wanted to put my money in an institution that holds opposing views, but this is obviously a targeted nationwide campaign against this bank, and the NO group knows all about this: The company was also one of the first major corporations in Canada to provide domestic partner benefits to its gay and lesbian workers, and has one of the industry's strongest written policies to protect the rights of GLBT employees
posted by amberglow at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2002


Cool. It's refreshing to see a corporation exhibit some soul.
posted by mathis23 at 4:27 PM on August 19, 2002


In statements to the media the group had said: "The holding of the 2006 Games will bring people who are HIV carriers to Montreal and will increase the spread of AIDS. They will contaminate our fellow citizens. Canadian cows are better protected than people."

Oh, be nice!
And now the NO group are threatening the bank with the Quebec Human Rights Commission. Since when was opening an account with the bank of your choice a Human Right? Nasty bunch. I wonder if they have ties to the Salvation Army.
posted by Catch at 4:27 PM on August 19, 2002


What's wrong with the Salvation Army?
posted by cx at 4:29 PM on August 19, 2002


MONTREAL, PQ–The city of Montreal, known as one of the most gay-friendly venues in North America, has won its bid to host the 2006 Gay Games, beating out Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago.

Gaetan Verville, captain of the Salvation Army corps in the Olympic Park neighbourhood, calls the news "disastrous. We are permitting and encouraging moral decadence and even crime. There will be pedophiles among the crowd. Even people in the secular social services recognize the danger, but they are unwilling to denounce it."

posted by monkeymike at 4:35 PM on August 19, 2002


Sorry: taken from here.
posted by monkeymike at 4:36 PM on August 19, 2002


cx, Um, local history, the sallies campaigned fiercely and petitioned parliament here in the '80's to oppose Homosexual law reform. Really put their backs into it, with all the weight of their "good guys" reputation. Since, I wouldn't trust 'em as far as I could spit 'em.
(--insert disarming/charming segue- NO ties to--)
Christian Heritage Party
"Real Women of Canada"
and
Campaign Life Coalition
posted by Catch at 4:43 PM on August 19, 2002


Ooh, thanks monkeymike, they are still at it then? Funny you don't see it much in their appeal advertising. Although when I last asked a salvation army man about their policy ("Do you still all hate gay people?") he called me a 'Fucking Dyke' and walked away.
posted by Catch at 4:48 PM on August 19, 2002


Catch--I love this!

A quote from Margaret Shields, MP.
"I'm going to miss not having Sodomy in the House on Wednesday nights."

Thanks!
posted by amberglow at 4:53 PM on August 19, 2002


Not being familiar with Canadian law, I guess my question is: can they legally discriminate against an organization because of its viewpoint? Would the opposite situation --say, the 1st Fascist Bank of Quebec or something refusing to open an account for Act Up-- raise the hackles of the gay community?

I know banks can decline accounts for financial reasons, but barring that, can they deny an account to someone they merely disagree with? Even it's against morons, discrimination is discrimination. Hey, I don't cheer when the ACLU defends the klan or anything, but I sure as hell keep sending them my money because everyone has rights.

If they are legally allowed to decide who they wish to give an account to, then good for them.
posted by umberto at 4:59 PM on August 19, 2002


It's about time a bank did something decent.
posted by aclevername at 5:10 PM on August 19, 2002


The woes of Palestinian homosexuals haven't exactly grabbed international attention.
posted by semmi at 5:28 PM on August 19, 2002


good article, semmi.
posted by goethean at 5:44 PM on August 19, 2002


Umberto, it's my impression that the Royal Bank isn't refusing to open an account because it "merely disagrees with" the group. It's refusing to open an account because the group incites discrimination against minorities. Discrimination carries civil penalties, so in a sense it is illegal. ACT UP, on the other hand, doesn't incite discrimination.
posted by Holden at 5:48 PM on August 19, 2002


What are the Canadian laws? Are all banks required to open accounts for whoever has $$ and wants one? (I think US banks have discretionary policies but I'm not sure)
posted by amberglow at 5:52 PM on August 19, 2002


umberto, I don't think political speech is protected in business transactions like race or religion are. The bank is excercising its right to choose to do business with whomever it pleases to do business with. Obviously, they don't want to be associated with the No Committee 2006 people, which brings up an interesting question about an open society - what to do about so called 'hate speech' when it comes to non-governmental organizations?

I was reading Them: Adventures with Extremists earlier this year and there was a really good chapter on alien conspiricy theorist/nutcase David Ickes. He was touring Canada promoting his new book while the local activists were busy painting him an anti-semite, which in my opinion he doesn't seem to be as much as a conspiracy nut. He lost most of his radio and television gigs because of the controversy. Later the activists tried to throw a pie in his face to discredit him at a book signing. I love that book.

Perhaps Canadian business is just very conservative and doesn't want to make waves. I'm sure Ickes would have no problem getting on an American talk show or the No Committee 2006 people finding a bank in the US.

I think this is a pretty poor ass precedent. If the speech is legal then business shouldn't have too much of a problem with it. Ideally, business should be business. These people are easy to dislike, but what if bankers became much more choosy about who they let in the door? Would there be more outcry from mefites if NORML was denied an account because of their politics?

Free speech isn't just speech that you like.
posted by skallas at 6:00 PM on August 19, 2002


Semmi:

That article deserves it's own FPP, if there hasn't been one already!
posted by buz46 at 6:00 PM on August 19, 2002


Good quotation, MonkeyMike.

one of the most gay-friendly venues in North America, has won its bid to host the 2006 Gay Games, beating out Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago.

Great wording.

We are permitting and encouraging moral decadence and even crime. There will be pedophiles among the crowd.

And I guess no pedophiles ever bother to go to the regular Olympics, right? But as soon as the gays come along, well, hey, it's pedophile heaven.
posted by wackybrit at 6:02 PM on August 19, 2002


In Ontario, this would be covered under the Human Rights Code, under which political opinion has been found not to be protected. So the bank would be in a perfectly legal position to deny the account. I'm not sure of the technicalities in Quebec.
posted by transient at 6:04 PM on August 19, 2002


In statements to the media the group had said: "The holding of the 2006 Games will bring people who are HIV carriers to Montreal and will increase the spread of AIDS. They will contaminate our fellow citizens. Canadian cows are better protected than people." [em mine]

Did anyone else find this line hilariously off-base? Dunno about you, but I think the laws prohibiting people from being, you know, slaughtered for food pretty convincingly underlines which species is really better protected.
posted by boaz at 6:10 PM on August 19, 2002


thanks, transient. (I never know where Canadian law stands on certain issues--It's a provincial American (US) thing) : >
posted by amberglow at 6:18 PM on August 19, 2002


Cool. It's refreshing to see a corporation exhibit some soul.
this is a bank. banks only do things that have a financial upside. it may not be clear to us, but there is some kind of monetary benefit to thier taking the 'high moral road'.
posted by quonsar at 6:47 PM on August 19, 2002


quonsar--yup! This is actually priceless publicity and there will be thousands of new accounts from gay and lesbian canadians (and we're a desirable demographic, doncha know?) But conservatives may pull their cash from the bank too, and the legal fees are going to be high as well....
posted by amberglow at 7:00 PM on August 19, 2002


i'm glad they told the nasty ill-informed space-wasting totally infuriating make-me-wanna-hurt-somebody homophobes to push off but i still think the royal bank sucks... they charge for online banking access. wtf is up with that...?

This is actually priceless publicity and there will be thousands of new accounts from gay and lesbian canadians

has this sitch been published widespread...? i haven't heard anything of it 'til the gaysports.com link and i'm one pitiful news junkie reading 5 newspapers a day with cbc newsworld on 24/7. if it's been everywhere, where have i been...? 8-)

i can speak on behalf of the 2 lesbians reading over my shoulder right this minute who say they won't be switching to royal based on this alone. it's that pesky online banking charge dontcha know.

Free speech isn't just speech that you like

in canada we have laws against hate, which can include speech.
posted by t r a c y at 8:15 PM on August 19, 2002



in canada we have laws against hate, which can include speech.


Is this group's speech illegal then? Have they been formally censured? It doesn't say in the article and if it was I would think the bank would use it as their primary excuse.
posted by skallas at 8:46 PM on August 19, 2002


Hmmm... It just seems to me that the claim of 'inciting discrimination' can be a little vague and sloppily applied. It seems a particularly difficult trait to quantitize. That would make me think that there is a slippery slope here as far as denying someone a legitimate account.

Blacks applying for an account in an all-white community could 'incite civil unrest,' etc... I don't know. I love the idea of these people being thwarted, but todays thwarter can so often become tomorrow's thwartee.

And if you say 'thwartee' five times real fast, it causes a pleasant bluzzing sensation on the soft palate.
posted by umberto at 11:16 PM on August 19, 2002


Although when I last asked a salvation army man about their policy ("Do you still all hate gay people?") he called me a 'Fucking Dyke' and walked away.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I don't understand how some people can be so committed to christianity that they would join an organisation like the Salvation Army, and yet totally miss the point.
posted by Summer at 3:06 AM on August 20, 2002


Other notable vegetarians of the time included the Salvation Army's Bramwell Booth, Dr Anna Kingsford -- a leading campaigner for women's rights, Mrs Annie Besant of the Theosophical Society, and the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy.

*blase music geek voice*

I remember when the Salvation Army used to be cool.

Ok, I have to ask. Will the Royal Bank give me a toaster if I open a new account?

(bad newbie! bad!)
posted by octobersurprise at 8:12 AM on August 20, 2002


October, you don't get a toaster, but the ATMs spit out condoms and dental dams! ; >

I'm so proud of this bank! Almost makes me wish I was Canadian....
posted by amberglow at 10:42 AM on August 20, 2002


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