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For Immediate Release, Dec 23 2020 Contact:
Maayan Kreitzman 604 723 9577

Extinction Rebellion to occupy RBC demanding the bank stop funding climate and ecological crimes

The ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future will deliver a year-end message to RBC branch managers and employees

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Today Extinction Rebellion Vancouver will gather at the Royal Bank of Canada’s main branch on Georgia and Burrard to demand that the bank stop financing the climate and ecological crisis, and become part of the economic transformation necessary to sustain life. An occupation of the branch and rally outside it will take place starting at 2:00 pm, where the group will stage a costume drama featuring the ghosts of Christamas past, present, and future delivering a theatrical message to the bank’s CEO David McKay, regional president Martin Thibodeau, and branch staff members. “We wish to express our alarm about RBC’s role in financing the unethical fossil fuel industry. Major financial players around the world are divesting from fossil fuel industries due to financial risk and concerns related to stranded assets. The role of financial institutions in fueling climate and ecological catastrophe and consequent suffering imposed on those least responsible, has led to their diminished social licence,” reads the letter Extinction Rebellion delivered to Thibodeau. The letter further demands that RBC 1) explicitly phase out all existing investments in fossil fuel companies by 2025 and ban all new investments in them; 2) withdraw from Coastal Gas Link and all projects violating the rights of Indigenous communities; 3) remove fossil fuel investments from investment products such as mutual funds; and 4) transform its governance structures to be more democratic and accountable while reducing the pay differential within the company to a maximum of 1:3. “RBC can expect these acts of nonviolent resistance to escalate and get more disruptive. We’ll stop when RBC ends its crimes against humanity, and makes up for the harms caused already,” said Laura Sullivan, a volunteer with Extinction Rebellion Vancouver. Rainforest Action Network’s Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card, ranked RBC in fifth place globally in fossil fuel financing, first in Canada, and also first globally for financing oil sands projects. RBC has held the position of the sole advisor for TC Energy, the company building the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline and has funded $714 million towards the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. Both projects have faced harsh criticism for continuing to push construction through despite resistance from Indigenous hereditary leaders and land defenders.

About Extinction Rebellion:

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken. Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an international grassroots movement that uses nonviolent direct action to mobilize the public to drive systemic change in the face of the climate and ecological crisis. Extinction Rebellion is fully made up of volunteers and relies solely on donations. Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government. Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are: TELL THE TRUTH - Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change. ACT NOW - Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025. BEYOND POLITICS - Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice. ###