Protests held at RBC locations opposing fossil fuel projects

Demonstrators gathered in 40 locations across Canada on Saturday to speak out against Royal Bank of Canada’s funding of fossil fuel projects.

Part of a nationwide effort called Fossil Fools Day, protests unfolded in cities such as Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Halifax and Vancouver.

One protester said the demonstration was intended to raise awareness of the bank’s looming annual shareholder meeting, scheduled for April 5 in Saskatoon.

Eve Saint, a Wet’suwet’en land advocate and daughter of Hereditary Chief Woos, who spoke at the Toronto protests, called Wet’suwet’en to get an answer from RBC president and CEO Dave McKay. He said a suwet’en delegation was heading to the AGM. “We are on a very scary road,” Saint said in an interview following her remarks at Saturday’s protest, citing extreme weather events such as floods and fires as examples of the impacts of the climate crisis. .

“Now is the time,” she said.

Banks have long stressed the importance of an orderly transition to net-zero financing emissions, previously hoping to reach that target in 2050 and a smaller interim target for 2030. announced that it would set

RBC spokesperson Jeff Lanthier said the company is looking at areas where it will have the greatest impact. It’s about helping clients reduce their emissions and supporting initiatives that bring green solutions to market.

“We are committed to achieving net zero lending by 2050 and have set interim emission reduction targets to help drive action and measure progress,” he said on the e-mail. “These goals are informed by science and reflect a prudent and prudent approach to climate action,” he said in an email.

But critics say the bank’s targets fall far short of what is needed, and when it announced its 10-year targets last fall, it said it was “greenwashing.” condemned.

While RBC’s funding of fossil fuel projects across the board has been the subject of much criticism, one of the key issues for Saint and others is the bank’s funding of the coastal gas link pipeline.

Currently under construction, the 670-kilometer project through the traditional territory of Wetthweten, British Columbia, has been the focus of ongoing demonstrations and arrests. Hereditary chiefs are against the pipeline, but the elected council of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and others in the neighborhood agree to support it.

Saint said he hopes RBC will pull out of projects like CGL and talk to Wet’suwet’en.

She is also part of a small group of people who have filed complaints with the Competition Bureau about RBC’s environmental claims and marketing. The Bureau has launched an investigation into the bank as a result of the complaint.

RBC is also funding the Trans Mountain Pipeline, whose estimated cost recently ballooned to $30.9 billion.

The estimated cost of CGL has also increased to $14.5 billion.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on April 1, 2023.

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