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Tell RBC: defund CGL pipeline

Michelle Robidoux

May 9, 2022
As TC Energy prepares to drill under the Wedzin Kwa (otherwise known as the Morice River) in northwestern BC, momentum is building across Turtle Island to demand that the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) stop funding this disastrous fracked gas pipeline.
The Coastal Gaslink (CGL) pipeline is the largest fracked gas project in Canadian history. It runs through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, and has never been approved by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. RBC is the largest lender to this pipeline, effectively bankrolling the violation of Indigenous sovereignty and the violence that has come with it.
The RCMP has relentlessly harassedWet’suwet’en people opposed to this project, which threatens their water, land and sovereignty. Since November 2021, 32 people have been arrested for their opposition to the pipeline. As The Tyee reports, “The B.C. RCMP’s industry response squad spent almost $1 million protecting the Coastal GasLink pipeline in less than two months as construction on Wet’suwet’en territory entered final phases last winter.”
As well as destroying unceded Indigenous land and waters, once it is operational the CGL pipeline is expected to carry up to five billion cubic feet of natural gas every day. This natural gas, when burned, is equivalent to 585.5 million pounds of CO2 being emitted every day.
RBC is the fifth biggest bank lender to fossil fuel infrastructure in the world, and the biggest in Canada. It owns 8% of TC Energy shares, and without its investment, the project can not go forward.
In March, a group of celebrities launched a campaignto build pressure on RBC to divest from CGL. In their statement, they explain: “With RBC as its financial leader, the controversial Coastal Gas Link project has shown a blatant disregard for Wet’suwet’en People, the will of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and the Canadian Supreme Court-recognized sovereignty of the unceded Wet’suwet’en territory.”
In April, Decolonial Solidarity launched an Adopt-a-Branch campaign to support the struggle against the CGL pipeline by maintaining a regular presence at RBC branches across so-called Canada until RBC divests. Hundreds of people attended the launch and have signed up to build local campaign groups. A campaign launch later this month will involve a range of activities at bank branches. These include leafleting and postering, protests and other outreach activities to broaden opposition to RBC’s policies which are furthering violence against Indigenous people and the climate crisis.
These campaigns will need to be bolstered by mass solidarity actions as have been organized in the past, when RCMP launched raids on Wet’suwet’en land defenders. With drilling under Wedzin Kwa imminent, there is urgent need for renewed solidarity efforts far and wide to stop the CGL pipeline, as we saw during Shut Down Canada in 2020.
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