Protesters in Nova Scotia are calling on the Royal Bank of Canada to stop funding a pipeline in northern British Columbia.
They rallied in Dartmouth, N.S., on Wednesday in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who have stood against the project since it was proposed in 2012.
Protesters raised their voices outside the RBC on Portland Street because the bank is one of the Coastal GasLink pipeline’s largest investors. They carried signs and brought their own pieces of pipeline to the branch.
Elder Thunderbird Swooping Down Woman said it’s about protecting the environment and supporting the Wet’suwet’en solidarity demonstrations that have popped up across the country.
“If you look at other pipelines, the history of pipelines is that they do break,” she said. “There is no guarantee that this water is safe for future generations and that’s our responsibility.”
The elder wants to see more consultation with the Wet’suwet’en territory.
“See this is not our territory really to speak on that,” she said. “But it is our territory to support as Indigenous people. So that’s what we do here, we support and we carry that message for them.”
Protester Deborah Luscomb said demonstrations like this one help generate support across Canada.
“It’s raising awareness,” Luscomb said. “We need more people to stand up and say no.”
In a statement, RBC said they respect the right of people to make their voices heard peacefully, adding the company supports energy projects that are developed in an environmentally and socially responsible way.
“We strive to be the leading financial institution in Canada to work with Indigenous people towards reconciliation,” the statement said.
“We believe in an inclusive transition to net zero and we’re doing this by financing projects that are responsible and sustainable to make sure we can successfully meet our world’s energy needs in a reliable manner.”
The pipeline will stretch from Dawson Creek in northeastern B.C. to a processing facility on the Pacific Coast.