Indigenous land defenders send larger-than-life message to TD Bank: ‘Respect our existence, or expect our Resistance’

Hologram projection showcase at TD head offices

Press release - November 17, 2017
November 17, 2017 (TORONTO) – Greenpeace Canada brought Indigenous voices of resistance to Toronto’s financial district today, demanding that the bank stop financing Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline.

November 17, 2017 (TORONTO) – Greenpeace Canada brought Indigenous voices of resistance to Toronto’s financial district today, demanding that the bank stop financing Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline.

The TD Bank Group is among the world’s major banks and Canada’s leading lenders financing tar sands pipelines and­­­­­ Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline. In the early morning, Greenpeace activists projected a 15-foot-high video images of Indigenous front line community members outside TD’s Bay Street headquarters at the corner of Bay and King Streets in Toronto.

The video features five Indigenous land defenders asking TD to ‘respect [their] existence, or expect [their] resistance’. If built, new pipelines carrying tar sands oil would cross Indigenous Peoples’ land without their consent and violate their rights under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“The Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline expansion is threatening our water, which is life; our land, which is home; our climate, which is already suffering enough,” said the Indigenous land defenders featured in the video. “We see you TD. You’re bankrolling the very pipeline I am standing up against. Walk the talk on your policies and invest in readily available, clean energy. You have the opportunity to do right by Indigenous communities and the world. Get on the right side of history.”

Greenpeace first wrote to TD’s CEO in May 2017 about the bank’s leading role in pipeline finance, but has not yet received a reply.

At 8:30 a.m., Greenpeace activists entered the TD branch at the base of the TD headquarters to deliver a petition with the names of 23,989 people supporting this call which TD refused to take (http://bit.ly/2A7hDZf).

“The real question is: when it comes to building something new, does TD invest in new fossil fuel projects that deepen our addiction to oil, coal and gas or in projects that allow us to make a rapid transition to a 100% renewable energy economy?" asked Keith Stewart, Senior Energy Strategist with Greenpeace Canada. He pointed out that “asking politely has been met with a stony silence, so we’ve brought this message directly to their head office. We cannot let TD ignore how financing pipelines contradicts their public positions on climate change and respect of Indigenous rights.”

Around the world, banks are saying no to tar sands pipelines. The French bank BNP Paribas recently announced it would no longer fund tar sands projects or companies, Dutch bank ING confirmed that its oil sands policy excludes financing tar sands pipelines and Sweden’s largest pension fund, AP7, announced that it will divest from TransCanada on the grounds that its proposed pipelines in Canada and the US were incompatible with the Paris Agreement. Quebec-based credit union Desjardins has put a moratorium on pipeline finance.

This action follows the release of the reportIn the Pipeline: Risks for funders of tar sands pipelines, authored by Greenpeace International and Oil Change International. The report warns of major banks’ exposure to financial and reputational damage due to their financing of tar sands pipelines and is the first report to examine in depth the range of risks related to all three proposed tar sands pipelines including legal challenges, opposition from Indigenous and local communities, threats to drinking water and economic vulnerability.

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For media related inquiries, please contact :

Loujain Kurdi, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Canada, 514-577-6657, 

To contact Audrey Siegl (Musqueam Nation) and Melina Laboucan-Massimo (Lubicon Cree Nation) featured in the video, please reach out to Loujain.

Photos & Video are available here [http://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJX6BG83]      

Petition: http://act.gp/2A47Zql

Notes to editors: