PBI-Canada observes Decolonial Solidarity calling on RBC to defund the Coastal GasLink pipeline
On November 10, Peace Brigades International-Canada observed Decolonial Solidarity painting “RBC STOP THE DRILLING” and “RBC, DEFUND CGL” outside a Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) branch in downtown Ottawa.
They also painted salmon on the sidewalk to represent that real salmon now being put at risk due to Coastal GasLink (CGL) drilling under the Wedzin Kwa river.
Decolonial Solidarity used non-permanent, water-soluble paint to send this message to RBC and to raise broader public awareness about what is happening now on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia.
Stand.earth has documented: “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.”
This drilling is happening despite the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination calling on Canada – through its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure – to stop construction on the pipeline until the company secures the free, prior and informed consent of the Wet’suwet’en.
The Committee monitors State compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Canada is a signatory.
Ottawa police did question Decolonial Solidarity and were assured that, like chalk, the water-soluble paint is not permanent.
Lawyer Michael Spratt has previously written: “It is not a criminal offence to chalk a sidewalk. It can be a criminal offence to make permanent markings on public property. But chalk is not permanent.” Spratt has also argued that the right to freedom of expression with chalking is protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The permanent damage to Wet’suwet’en territory is undeniable.
Dogwood photo: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Na’Moks observes some of the damage on the territory on November 4, 2022.
Gidimt’en Checkpoint/The Narwhal photos of one portion of the 190 kilometre CGL pipeline route through Wet’suwet’en territory.
The Narwhal has reported: “Coastal GasLink is drilling under the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) as spawning salmon lay their eggs throughout the river system.”
The Wet’suwet’en have highlighted: “Wedzin Kwa is a spawning ground for salmon and a critical source of pristine drinking water on the territory.” Gidimt’en water protector Molly Wickham adds: “Our way of life is at risk. Wedzin Kwa is the river that feeds all of Wet’suwet’en territory and gives life to our nation.”
Wickham has also stated: “Our identity as Indigenous peoples is tied to the land, to our water, to the fact that we harvest salmon every year. We know that the people who are killing themselves are the people who don’t have that connection to who they are as an Indigenous person. And if we don’t have that our people will die. And that’s the genocide.”
We continue to follow what is happening on Wet’suwet’en territory with concern.