Protesters across Canada demonstrate against RBC's fossil-fuel funding
Demonstrators gathered in 40 locations across Canada on Saturday to voice their opposition to the Royal Bank of Canada's funding of fossil fuel projects.
The protests, part of a nation-wide effort dubbed Fossil Fools Day, unfolded in cities including Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Halifax and Vancouver.
One protester said the demonstrations were intended to raise awareness of the bank's looming Annual General Meeting, scheduled to take place in Saskatoon on April 5.
Eve Saint, a Wet'suwet'en land defender and daughter of hereditary Chief Woos who spoke at the Toronto protest, said a Wet'suwet'en delegation is heading to the AGM intent on getting answers from RBC president and CEO Dave McKay. "We are going down a very scary path," Saint said in an interview following her remarks at Saturday's protest, citing extreme weather events such as flooding and fires as examples of the effects of the climate crisis.
"The time is now," she said.
The bank, for its part, has long stressed the importance of an orderly transition to net-zero financed emissions, previously announcing it hoped to reach that goal in 2050 and setting a smaller, interim target for 2030.
RBC spokesperson Jeff Lanthier said the company is focusing its attention on where it will have the biggest impact, which is helping clients reduce their emissions and supporting initiatives that bring green solutions to market.
"We are committed to achieving net-zero in our lending by 2050 and have established interim emissions reduction targets that will help us drive action and measure progress," he said in an email. "These targets are informed by science and reflect a measured and deliberate approach to climate action."
But critics say the bank's targets fall far short of what's needed, accusing the company of "greenwashing" last fall when it announced its goals for this decade.
While RBC's financing of fossil fuel projects overall has been the subject of much criticism, one of the core issues for Saint and others is the bank's funding of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline.
The 670-kilometre project, which is currently under construction and runs through Wet'suwet'en traditional territory in British Columbia, has been the focus of ongoing demonstrations and arrests. Hereditary chiefs oppose the pipeline, while the elected council of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation and others nearby have agreed to support it.
Saint said she wants to see RBC divest from CGL and other such projects, as well as sit down with the Wet'suwet'en.
She is also part of a small group that put forward a complaint to the Competition Bureau about RBC's environmental claims and marketing. The bureau launched an inquiry into the bank as a result of the complaint.
RBC has also funded the Trans Mountain pipeline, the estimated costs of which have ballooned recently to $30.9 billion.
The estimated cost of CGL has also grown to $14.5 billion.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2023.
MORE Business News
opinion | Is it a good time to buy a new vehicle?
If you're like many would-be vehicle shoppers, you may be wondering when prices will finally drop. The good news is that the vehicle market seems to be finally stabilizing, says personal finance contributor Christopher Liew.
opinion | How to get the most out of your grocery rebate
Personal finance contributor Christoper Liew shares the latest information about who’s eligible for the grocery rebate, when they can expect their payments, and some helpful tips on making the most of your grocery rebate.
opinion | Dos and don'ts of money while travelling
As a former financial advisor, I’ve always been fascinated by how the 'culture' around money differs from one region of the world to another,' writes personal finance commentator Christopher Liew. 'Today, I’ll outline some of the interesting money habits that I’ve noticed while travelling the globe, starting with some of our own!'
opinion | How much of a raise should you ask for in a time of high inflation?
With the rising cost of food and living expenses, you might be considering asking for a raise. On CTVNews.ca, personal finance contributer Christopher Liew explains how inflation could determine the extent of your raise, as well as other key factors.
opinion | Top sources of passive income for Canadians looking to earn more
On CTVNews.ca, personal finance contributor Christopher Liew explores some of the top sources of passive income in Canada, for those looking to increase their earnings.
Owe money to the CRA? Here are some repayment options
Getting an income tax refund can be a happy bonus for your household budget, but an unexpected tax bill can be an unpleasant surprise, especially if you don't have the cash on hand to pay it.
Canadians with celiac disease especially hard hit by grocery price pain, group says
Those prices have been increasing even more along with the rising cost of groceries overall. Celiac Canada says gluten-free products cost between 150 and 500 per cent more than their regular gluten-containing equivalents.
Why lettuce prices are rising in Canada
Canadians may notice a lack of leafy greens at grocery stores and restaurants, as lettuce prices spike and shortages loom.