TORONTO, February 22, 2002 ( – A shareholders meeting of the Royal Bank held in Toronto today overwhelmingly defeated a resolution by two shareholders to require the Royal Bank to abandon its policy of refusing services to any organization, whether a church, corporation or individual, on the basis of their religious, political and ideological views.

The resolution was the result of the precedent-setting decision by the Royal Bank last June, when it refused to permit the opening of an account at one of its Montreal branches, by an organization called the “No Committee 2006.”. The “No Committee 2006,” made up of REAL Women of Canada, Campaign Life Coalition Quebec, The Christian Heritage Party and a French-speaking Protestant Church in Montreal, was opposed to the Gay Games, scheduled to take place in Montreal in 2006.

The bank refused its services, because it claimed that the “No Committee 2006,” by raising its objections to the Gay Games, as well as its opposition to the promotion of homosexuality, allegedly contravened the Charter of Rights and the federal Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Charter, however, also protects a Canadian’s right to freedom of conscience, expression, and opinion. Moreover, the Quebec Human Rights Commission (Commission des Droits de la Personne et des Droits de la Jeunesse) in a decision handed down on November 2, 2001, dismissed the complaint brought against the “No Committee 2006” by the Quebec lesbian and gay coordinating council, concluding that there was no basis on which to find discrimination in its complaint.

Gwen Landolt, a lawyer with REAL Women of Canada, was at the shareholders meeting and told LifeSite that the bank had brought in homosexual activist MPP George Smitherman to argue in favour of rejecting the resolution. Landolt said, “The result of this vote is that in future, anyone who opposes the promotion of homosexuality may be refused services in the Royal Bank. The bank has truly now become officially the bank for homosexuals in Canada.” In their upcoming REALITY newsletter, REAL Women writes “Anyone who cares about this issue and has an account with the Royal Bank should perhaps consider switching his/her account to a bank that does not have a similar policy.” The group encourages letting the bank know why you are closing your account and forwarding a copy of the letter to:

Mr. Gordon M. Nixon, President and Chief Operating Officer Royal Bank of Canada 200 Bay St., South Tower Toronto, Ontario M5J 2J5 Tel: (416) 974-4464 Fax: (416) 974-7403