Hollywood actor and environmentalist, Mark Ruffalo, is firing back at B.C. Premier John Horgan after he commented on Ruffalo’s efforts to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
He is one of several celebrities who have signed on to the No More Dirty Banks campaign calling on Royal Bank to pull its financial support for the pipeline.
Horgan said the campaign was disappointing and made a joke about Ruffalo’s latest project.
“I really liked The Adam Project. Mark Ruffalo was great in that. Ryan Reynolds was better,” Horgan joked.
“Look, I have a lot of respect for people who have opinions. If Mark Ruffalo had a full understanding on the intricacies of economic development in British Columbia then he has a role to play,” Horgan added. “Taking shots from the sidelines without understanding the impact on Indigenous peoples, the impact on our climate plan. If he read our climate plan I’d be excited to hear his thoughts.”
Ruffalo responded on Twitter Thursday night saying “respectfully, I am saddened Horgan doesn’t like hearing from people, no matter what work they do, about things like climate change and First Nation’s rights and what our money is being used to fund. I thought that’s what he was in office to do.”
Ruffalo and other celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Jane Fonda 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 campaign, 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.
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.
However, many groups are in support of the pipeline. The elected council of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and others nearby have agreed to the project.
The project is permitted under Canadian law, but does not have the blessing of Wetsuwet’en Nation’s hereditary chiefs. 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.
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 project is being built by Calgary-based company, TC Energy Corporation.
In a statement to Global News, it said “Coastal GasLink is very concerned that important facts are not being shared with groups and individuals who are concerned about Indigenous rights and climate change issues. After years of thoughtful engagement and dialogue, the Coastal GasLink project received unprecedented support from all 20 elected Indigenous communities along our project corridor. Building on this support, last week, we were proud to announce that we have signed equity option agreements with two entities representing 16 Nations across the project corridor for a 10 per cent equity ownership interest in Coastal GasLink – a first for a project of this scale.”
The company added that since the beginning of the project, Coastal GasLink has sought to engage with the Wet’suwet’en Houses and they want to continue to engage with the Chiefs and open communication.
“Coastal GasLink recognizes that Indigenous reconciliation and addressing climate change are essential to creating a better, more sustainable world. We would encourage everyone interested to take the time to understand all the facts and the important role Indigenous communities have in developing and building the Project,” TC Energy said in the statement.
For the B.C. government, Horgan said he is “always disappointed when celebrities stop doing their trade and start giving out practical advice.
“They are completely entitled to do that,” he added “but I take it as someone who lives somewhere else having a comment about B.C.”