RBC Funds Destruction of our Geography: Why is the Geographica Gala honouring Canada’s biggest climate villain?

November 15, 2023

RBC is Canada’s biggest funder of fossil fuels, poising our waters, land and air. RBC destroys our geographic, yet the Canadian Geographical Society chose to honour the bank and some C-suite employees at their annual Geographica Gala in Ottawa. Protestors showed up to call out this hypocrisy, and demand that RBC divest from fossil fuels and respect Indigenous sovereignty.

Students from the University of Ottawa gathered outside the Royal Canadian Geographical Society Gala at the Canadian War Museum to protest the involvement of the Royal Bank of Canada in the event, calling out the bank’s continued funding of the fossil fuel industry and violations of Indigenous sovereignty. Change Course partnered with Greenpeace Canada to orchestrate the protest, which included a 14-foot inflatable effigy of Canada’s biggest climate villain RBC CEO Dave McKay, alongside a large-scale projection featuring phrases like “RBC Funds the CGL Pipeline, Threatening Wild Salmon.”

“RBC is the world’s biggest fossil fuel financier. Despite its attendance at an event meant to celebrate those highlighting “the gifts our lands and waters bring to all Canadians”, RBC is actively damaging Indigenous lands and waters through its funding practices,” said student Alex Stratas. “Until RBC stops funding climate destruction and colonial violence, they should not be given a platform to enable their greenwashing. We call on post-secondary institutions, and all organizations that claim to care about environmental protection and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, to cut ties with RBC.”

Students and community members held space outside the gala for hours, chanting, singing, holding signs and distributing flyers calling attention to RBCs greenwashing tactics and ongoing financing of climate chaos. We showed up to send a clear message to the bank: wherever you go to peddle your greenwashing, we will follow. RBC is funding the destruction of our future, and we refuse to allow them any chance to celebrate or congratulate themselves as they violate sovereign Indigenous lands and poison our geography. 

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