Hollywood celebrities call on RBC to stop financing B.C.’s Coastal GasLink project

Click to play video: 'Actor Mark Ruffalo joins campaign calling for large banks to defund Coastal GasLink'
Actor Mark Ruffalo joins campaign calling for large banks to defund Coastal GasLink
Actor Mark Ruffalo is showing his support for Wets'uwet'en Hereditary Chiefs who oppose the Coastal GasLink Pipeline, and are calling for big banks to stop funding the project. As Ted Chernecki reports, the contentious project also has its supporters. – Mar 16, 2022

Dozens of Hollywood celebrities are joining Indigenous leaders calling for big banks to stop funding the Coastal GasLink pipeline in B.C.

Actors Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio are among the celebrities who have signed on to the No More Dirty Banks campaign.

They are throwing their support behind Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and other leaders who are calling on the Royal Bank of Canada to withdraw its support from the northern B.C. pipeline.

According to the organization, RBC has invested more than $160 billion since 2015 to finance tar sands, fossil fuel extraction and transport.

RBC is also the lead financier of Coastal GasLink, the campaign states.

“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,” reads the description on the website.

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Click to play video: 'RCMP could have at least two suspects in violent attack on Coastal GasLink employees'
RCMP could have at least two suspects in violent attack on Coastal GasLink employees

The campaign is asking RBC to withdraw support for the Coastal GasLink project, particularly as its company, City National Bank has extensive relationships with numerous Hollywood celebrities and companies.

“We have a responsibility to each other,” Ruffalo said in a press conference Wednesday. “And it’s time for good people and privileged people, like us, to do the right thing. To make other people, good people, uncomfortable. That’s the only way we’re going to break through this system of racism and harm.”

A court-ordered injunction was granted in December 2019 to stop opponents of Coastal GasLink’s pipeline from impeding the company’s activities, but since then, a blockade has been set up — on and off — to stop its construction.

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If built, the 670-kilometre pipeline would transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to a liquefied natural gas facility in coastal Kitimat, where it would be exported to global markets.

The elected council of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and others nearby have agreed to the project but it is opposed by others.

The project is permitted under Canadian law, but does not have the blessing of Wetsuwet’en Nation’s hereditary chiefs, whose unceded territory it crosses. Concerned for the wellbeing of ecosystems and sovereignty over their land, the chiefs have said the pipeline is “illegal” under their laws — the only ones they recognize on their territory.

Click to play video: 'Significant damage reported to Coastal GasLink work site'
Significant damage reported to Coastal GasLink work site

When asked why celebrities were involved, Ruffalo said its because they have a platform and a voice and for some reason “people listen to us.”

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“We have this privilege and we have to use it for the right thing. None of this matters if our children can’t drink the water, they can’t breathe the air, they can’t go outside, the world burns around them. None of this means anything anymore. We’re becoming desensitized to this insanity that we’re living in.”

Global News has reached out to RBC for comment.

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