This week, York students will be gathering at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) On Campus, as part of a national week of action with 12 other student groups at campuses across the country. We are calling for York University to close the RBC on campus because there is no room for corporations that violate Indigenous sovereignty and land rights on our campuses.
While RBC continues to greenwash its involvement through claiming its commitment to environmentalism, it continues to be the top funder of fossil fuel projects in this country. RBC is a major funder of the Coastal Gaslink (CGL) pipeline project. This project directly violates the sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, who have refused consent for pipeline drilling. Despite this violation of sovereign land, RBC continues to fund the pipeline.
Recently, drilling has begun under the Wedzin Kwa river, which is the sacred headwaters of the Wet’suwet’en people. This is the water that the Wet’suwet’en nation and the local salmon depend on for drinking, swimming, and life.
The Wet’suwet’en people and hereditary chiefs, joined by land defenders from across Turtle Island, have been defending their land against this project for over five years. They have faced brutal raids by the RCMP, daily surveillance and intimidation by both police and CGL-hired security. People have been harassed and dragged through court on egregious charges, all because of the desires for fossil fuel by CGL and RBC.
RBC may claim to be a friend to the environment, but their actions speak louder than their words. RBC’s tactics to appeal to students by having a branch on campus and specific student incentives are underhanded and deceitful. RBC is funding an environmental crisis and stealing our future, while attempting to placate us with free chequing accounts. But unlike RBC, who puts profits above all else, we stand with Indigenous land defenders, and we will not support corporations that violate our values.
York University claims to support reconciliation and climate justice, but they continue to allow RBC to operate on our campus. How can York claim to operate by an Indigenous Framework while remaining complicit in RBC’s genocidal investments? We call on the administration to live up to the values they proclaim on their website and sever their partnership with RBC. We demand RBC cease its operations on campus. We also call for them to end funding for the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project and respect Wet’suwet’en sovereignty.
We will continue to put pressure on RBC until they divest from this appalling project. We encourage all members of the York community to send RBC a strong message by moving your accounts and writing them about why.
On March 2, students gathered at the RBC on campus to demand justice for the Wet’suwet’en people and their lands. Tell RBC they are not welcome on our campus until they end their support for this project. Tell York University that we demand they break ties with RBC.
Add your voice and sign the petition here: https://chng.it/8QFXH7sSg8