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Protest outside Courtenay RBC asks for stop to pipeline money

Saturday’s demonstration is the second since March to take place outside local banks
Protesters stand outside the Royal Bank of Canada branch on Ryan Road in Courtenay during a “Fossil Fools Day” protest. (Connor McDowell/Comox Valley Record)

Protesters gathered in front of Royal Bank of Canada on Saturday to criticize what they call “dirty” investments on the part of the multinational bank.

At 1:30 p.m. a group of roughly a dozen protesters took to the sidewalk in front of RBC on Ryan Road. In an interview with the Record, one protester said the demonstration was about pipeline money.

“We are here as an act of solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation who is trying really hard to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline from travelling through their unceded traditional territories,” said Melanie. “We feel it’s really important to be out here today just to raise awareness. That’s a win.”

RBC funds the Coastal GasLink pipeline, according to media reports from 2022. RBC’s CEO Dave McKay at the time provided a defense for the investments.

McKay “said the project has been extensively reviewed and approved by regulators and has the support of all 20 nations along the route, including some Wet’suwet’en elected leaders,” Reuters reported in 2022. “He added that 16 of them have taken the option to have an economic interest in it.”

The protest in Courtenay was one of many across the country this year designed to put pressure on the bank ahead of its annual meeting of common shareholders, which is scheduled for April 11, 2024. Another such protest was reported on in Montreal.

In Courtenay, “every customer they lose or every customer that walks in there today and says, ‘Hey, what’s going on outside?’” is something protesters, with signs decrying the pipeline and fossil fuels, were hoping for.

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