Decolonial Solidarity supports calls for RBC defunding of Coastal GasLink pipeline

Published by Brent Patterson on

Video still: RCMP pull over Molly Wickham, Cody Merriman and their children on Wet’suwet’en territory, June 5, 2022.

Gidimt’en Checkpoint has noted the ongoing harassment by the RCMP of Wet’suwet’en land defenders opposed to the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline being built on their territory without free, prior and informed consent.

They have tweeted: “Since March, RCMP have sent 6-8 officers into our village site, between 4-8 times each day, in order to harass & intimidate our elders, relatives & supporters.”

On May 26, they highlighted that the RCMP have trespassed on Wet’suwet’en territory more than 900 times since March.

Most recently, RCMP Off The Yintah tweeted the video above and noted: “June 5, 10:30am molly, cody and kids pulled over by CIRG [the RCMP’s community-industry response group] at 53 km on morice river road heading down.”

UN Resolution                      

In December 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Canada to stop construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline and to remove the RCMP from Wet’suwet’en territory.

Ignoring that resolution (prompted by the RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory in January 2019 in which the police were prepared to shoot unarmed land defenders), the RCMP raided the territory again on February 6, 2020, and arrested 22 land defenders. Another raid happened on November 18-19, 2021, resulting in another 29 arrests.

Drilling imminent

This is also happening as drilling under the Wedzin Kwa appears imminent. This past February, a Coastal GasLink spokesperson stated: “We expect that the micro-drilling [under Wedzin Kwa] will take place starting this spring.”

The Terrace Standard adds: “The active tunneling work is expected to take two and half to three months.”

Calls for RBC to defund Coastal GasLink

On April 7, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs travelled to Toronto to speak to the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) annual shareholders meeting.

Stand.earth has noted: “RBC is among top commercial banks providing the CGL project with working capital, including CAD $275 million in project finance, a co-financed $6.5 billion loan, a $40 million corporate loan, and $200 million in co-financed working capital – while acting as financial advisor for the pipeline.”

While the Wet’suwet’en were refused the opportunity to meet with RBC, the calls continue for RBC to defund Coastal GasLink.

Upcoming dates

On July 7, we will learn if the BC Prosecution Service will seek criminal charges against Sleydo’ and nine other land defenders. Earlier this month, the BC Prosecution Service announced it plans to prosecute 15 other land defenders and supporters in this way.

On July 15, we may find out if Canada meets the deadline set by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to respond to its concerns.

For more on the ongoing mobilizing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en at RBC branches across the country, please see Decolonial Solidarity, including in Ottawa and Winnipeg.

Decolonial Solidarity-RBC Bank and First Sts, Ottawa: “If you’re in Ottawa, come join us.  We’re at  RBC – Bank St. and First  Ave. every Friday from 11am to 12 pm, We have a presence outside the bank while leafleting customers and passersby.  The leaflets provide information on RBC’s funding of the fracked gas pipeline Coastal Gaslink which is being pushed through Wet’suwet’en Territory without consent.  Land defenders have been violently arrested and criminalized.”

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