Vancouver Youth Take Action Against RBC for Financing Pipelines
March 25, 2022
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/ VANCOUVER – On Friday, March 25, a youth-led coalition held an action calling out RBC as one of Canada's biggest fossil fuel funders. This coalition calls on banks and insurance companies to stop funding fossil fuels and prioritize #PeopleNotProfit.
“We are out here mobilizing to fight for our future and to support our Mother Earth in regenerating and protecting what we still have left. Our future is in our hands,” said Cedar, an organizer working with a coalition of youth against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
In tandem with Global Climate Strike movements around the world, organizers and volunteers with Climate Justice UBC, Stop TMX, Sustainabiliteens, 350Vancouver, Stand.earth, Leadnow, Climate Emergency Unit, Wilderness Committee, Climate Convergence, and the David Suzuki Foundation, Dogwood BC, and SFU350, along with members of the public gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 4pm for songs, chants, speeches, and art building. A march brought the gathering to the 1025 W Georgia St. RBC in time for the end of the workday. As employees left the branch for the weekend, participants called on RBC to stop funding fossil fuel extraction and prioritize #PeopleNotProfit—in line with the international Fridays for Future strike date.
Why now, and why RBC? Banks and insurance companies, like RBC and Liberty Mutual, are some of the world’s largest financiers and insurers of fossil fuels. These corporations are responsible for continuing to finance and insure the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline, Trans Mountain Pipeline, and Enbridge's Line 3 Pipeline which violate traditional, occupied, and stolen Indigenous territory of Wet’suwet’en and Secwepemc. This means they are directly responsible for funding the colonial violence against Indigenous peoples and their land. This year, RBC was presented a resolution that would put an end to the funding of new fossil fuel expansion—but threw it out on a technicality before it could be presented at their AGM (Annual General Meeting). With AGM season approaching, shareholders in major banks and insurance companies will be meeting to vote on this year’s resolutions. On this global day of action, we are calling on these shareholders to prioritize the lives and futures of the people who their decisions are affecting most and stop financing new fossil fuel extraction and expansion.
"Today, hundreds of groups across the world took to the streets; united in our fight for a better world free from fossil fuels. As RBC's AGM approaches, we need to hold big banks responsible for funding the climate crisis," said Naisha Khan, an organizer with Climate Justice UBC and Banking on a Better Future.
This action kicks off what will be an escalating series of actions through and beyond bank AGM season, leading up Thursday, April 7th, when the coalition will bring the No New Expansion resolution back to RBC. Similar coalitions will show up at Headquarters and across Canada to make sure those actively funding the climate crisis and enabling the destruction caused by projects such as TMX can’t escape the conversation they are trying to avoid.
Photos can be found here and will continue to be uploaded.