Montrealers gather to protest RBC’s $208 billion investment in fossil fuel

Country-wide protests demand Canada and its banks respect ecological goals, promises of Indigenous reconciliation goals

Black paint is poured onto the street by protestors, mimicking the ingress of oil into Indigenous territories. Photo Diane Yeung
Protestors wore suits parodying those of the bankers they chastised. Photo Eric Pahmer
Protestors wore suits parodying those of the bankers they chastised. Photo Diane Yeung
Emily Hardie from Divest McGill (left) and John Nathaniel Gertler from CEVES (right) lead the crowd, chanting: “RBC, get off it! Injustice lines your pockets; You’re making dirty profits; Divest from all that’s toxic.” Photo Eric Pahmer
Patrick Bonin from Greenpeace Canada stresses the need for the Canadian government to abandon its fossil fuel projects and invest in renewable energy. Photo Eric Pahmer
In a nod to traditional Wet’suwet’en colours, red smoke sticks roll over black paint. Photo Diane Yeung
Protestors scrub paint off the streets and sidewalk after the event. The protest started at 4 p.m. and lasted three hours. Photo Eric Pahmer

Nearly 200 protesters gathered in front of RBC’s downtown office to denounce the bank’s investments in fossil fuels on Oct. 29. RBC is the fossil fuel industry's largest funder in Canada, and the fifth largest in the world.

Since the Paris accords, RBC has invested $208 billion in fossil fuel projects, including the notorious Coastal GasLink pipeline, which cuts through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia. Although not officially affiliated, the event was coordinated in solidarity with land defenders in Wet’suwet’en.

The protest was organized by Divest McGill, Coalition étudiante pour un virage environnemental et social, Extinction Rebellion Quebec, Greenpeace Canada, Quit RBC, and Justice climatique Montréal.

In an action mirrored by 44 other municipalities in Canada, protestors urged the government to honour its promises in defending Indigenous communities and divesting from fossil fuels.