Over 65 Celebs Petition Bank to Stop Financing Canadian Gas Pipeline
Celebs agitated about Gas Pipeline
Leonardo DiCaprio, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jane Fonda, Taika Waititi, and Robert Downey Jr., among others teamed up to sign an open letter, to the Royal Bank of Canada not to finance the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia. Many Hollywood celebrities signed the petition organized to urge the Royal Bank of Canada to stop funding a fracking gas pipeline which is to cut across the northwestern British Columbia Wet’suwet’en territory, without the consent from local hereditary Indian chiefs. The petition, organized by Indigenous Climate Action was signed by actors, athletes, artists, and musicians opposing the very expensive multibillion-dollar gas pipeline project. In Canada, opposition has led to rail blockades and rallies across the country.
The ‘No More Dirty Banks’ Campaign
The campaign, “No More Dirty Banks,” requested the bank to withdraw all financial support to the pipeline immediately. Celebrities signed the petition as RBC is parent company to City National Bank, known as the bank of the stars. The Wet’suwet’en chiefs never gave their consent for this pipeline crossing through their territories, which risk the sacred headwaters of the Wedzin Kwa River. The protests by Indigenous land defenders have intensified. Canadians desperately want to see reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, many Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, claiming jurisdiction over vast swathes of traditional territory on the pipeline route, opposed the project. Money has no conscience but Humans do and that’s what we’re calling upon,” say the Hereditary Chiefs. Though RBC commits themselves to protect Indigenous human rights, they still continue to fund the Coastal GasLink’s violence against Wet’suwet’en people. RBC has declined to comment.
Need for Consultations
TC Energy, which builds the Coastal GasLink project, sought talks with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the pipeline running in between their territory, to listen carefully and seek meaningful ways to answer and address interests and concerns, by ensuring that the pipeline is built below the Morice River uses the safest technology available. TC Energy said it has unprecedented support from all of the 20 elected Indigenous communities that fall along our project corridor and options/ deals that were signed earlier this month with Indigenous communities along the pipeline corridor. The Open Letter to Banks, calls for respecting the rights of indigenous people and stop throwing money for fossil fuel expansion. CNB and RBC ought to cease funding these huge fossil fuel expansion lobbies and projects, specifically for fracking tar sands. The Athabasca oil sands are adding to the climate crisis and Canada is unable to meet its international climate commitments as per COP 26. The gas pipeline violates hereditary titles, and led to years of RCMP’s violence and continued harassment of peaceful Indigenous land defenders who are the rightful owners of that land, with forced removal of Wet’suwet’en peoples from their territory.
Conflicts and Protests
The conflict led to nationwide protests and stand-ins in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en protesters in February of 2020. The Coastal GasLink worksite has been targeted by 20 individuals wielding axes, who attacked the security guards there and smashed parked vehicle windows one night in February. Millions of dollars in damage was reported in the incident. The pipeline transports natural gas from Dawson Creek in Northeastern B.C. to a processing facility in Kitimat. For the past three years, the RCMP arrested and violently detained non-violent Indigenous protestors and even journalists. RBC is supporting the pipeline project with hundreds of millions of dollars in a large loan backed by over two dozen large banks.
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