Royal Bank draws protest against Coastal Gas Link pipeline on April 7, 2022

Opponents of pipeline construction that violates unceded Indigenous land rights demonstrated across the Canadian state on April 7, 2022.  The gathering of nearly one hundred at Toronto’s Simcoe Park, next to CBC headquarters and opposite the Metro Convention Centre, included dozens of delegates from the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union convention then underway.

Mainstream media reported the following:  “Royal Bank of Canada’s (RBC) chief executive on Thursday defended the bank’s funding of the Coastal GasLink pipeline and called for incentives to help the shift to a net-zero economy, as investors and indigenous groups denounced its support of fossil fuels. Chief Executive Dave McKay was speaking at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting, which had been changed to a virtual-only format late on Wednesday after confirmation of a positive case of COVID-19 among its staff.

Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Indigenous people had traveled from British Columbia to Toronto to express their opposition in person to RBC’s financing of the pipeline’s construction on traditional indigenous land. The pipeline is 65% owned by private equity firm KKR & Co Inc and the Alberta Investment Management Corp.

Calling into the meeting, they accused the bank of funding a project that they said has damaged rivers and wetland forests and limited their ability to hunt wild life.

RBC shares fell 1.2% to C$135.48 at midday on Thursday, compared with the Toronto stock benchmark’s 0.7% decline.

Canada’s major banks including RBC, the biggest, have released plans to lower their financed emissions, but their continued funding of fossil fuel companies and pipelines has riled some investors and communities.

Last week, Canada released a C$9.1 billion plan to meet its 2030 emissions-reduction targets.

Spending on green technologies is set to be a focal point of the 2020 budget.”

“Two shareholder proposals urging RBC to exclude fossil fuel activity and projects opposed by indigenous groups from eligibility for sustainable financing, and refrain from funding and advising on the privatization of pollution-intensive assets were defeated, in line with the board’s recommendation.”

Socialist Action participated in the Toronto protest.  Thanks to Julius A. for the photos.