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Critics want big banks to stop backing the Trans Mountain pipeline

Last Updated May 12, 2018 at 4:39 pm PDT

Protesters stand in front of one of Canada's biggest banks on May 12, 2018, in a bid to convince them to stop backing the Trans Mountain pipeline project. (Monika Gul, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

People want Canada's big banks to stop supporting the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline

Environmentalists want some banks to no longer back the Trans Mountain project

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Hundreds of people marched through Downtown Vancouver this afternoon stopping by the banks that are backing the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline project. The rally started at the TD Tower at Howe and Georgia Streets.

With signs that read, “Defend Indigenous sovereignty,” and “Protect the whales,” protesters are calling for big banks to step away from the project.

“These pipelines are getting funded by banks, basically, and so without their investment these pipelines wouldn’t exist,” says Ryan Schebeck with the group Young Socialists “They need, you know, billions of dollars of capital in order to complete some of these projects.”

Bhavana Lymbworth, who took part in the march, told NEWS 1130 that bitumen poses a serious risk to the environment. “It’s sinks to the bottom of the ocean. It displaces the ocean floor. It kills all the sea lions.”

Others say they remain concerned about the lack of Indigenous consent.

“The government and the pipeline don’t have consent from the First Nations along the route, some of them,” says Alison Porter, “Most of our lives are tied to banks and I don’t want my bank to be investing in the pipeline when I oppose it.”

There have been near weekly protests against the project, with most of them taking place up on Burnaby Mountain in front of the metal gates of Kinder Morgan’s facility.

Over the last several months, more than 200 people have been arrested in protests against the company, including now former federal NDP MP Kennedy Stewart and federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. The group marched by the Vancouver courthouse to show support for them.

At every bank the group stopped by, it hung up a Monopoloy themed “Community Declaration” card, with the amount the group wants the bank to divest.

“To symbolize the banks and their monopolistic role in our economy,” says Kyle Farquharson with Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver “And the fact that they’re making a lot of decisions that aren’t necessarily in the interest of everyone.”

Kinder Morgan has suspended all non-essential activities and spending related to the project. It also previously issued an ultimatum to Ottawa outlining its financial needs. The company wants the project to be given a green light by the BC, Alberta and federal governments by no later than May 31st as it seeks financial security.

 

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has affirmed several times while addressing the issue with reporters that the pipeline will be built. Alberta’s premier says they’re in talks with Kinder Morgan to create a new, risk-free financial plan.

BC, meantime, maintains it will use “every tool in the toolbox” to legally challenge the federally approved project. Premier John Horgan says there are also “gaps” in Ottawa’s spill response plan but he has never gone into detail.