Montrealers organize to show solidarity with Standing Rock

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Follow the money. That’s the message activists who oppose construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation have for international sympathizers of the growing protest movement.

In Canada, that means targeting the three large banks here that are among the 17 directly funding the project by Energy Transfer Partners to build a crude oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. They are urging Canadians to challenge the Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank and TD Securities over the heavily militarized response to the Standing Rock Sioux, including the attack dogs, sound-cannon trucks, heavily armed officers, and even a plane spraying undetermined chemicals over the protest camp in North Dakota.

This was the message delivered at a mobilization teach-in at Concordia University November 10 by students from the university’s First Peoples Studies program.

According to Hugh MacMillan, a senior researcher with the group Food & Water Watch, “People should ask these institutions why they are sinking so much money into maximizing the amounts of oil and gas that can be brought to the surface and burned at a time when climate science is clear we have to maximize what we keep in the ground instead.”

The Washington, D.C.-based organization suggests the following as a model message for the banks: “As a customer of your financial institution, I reject the notion of my money helping to support your investment in the Dakota Access pipeline, an inherently dangerous and unjust oil pipeline that threatens air and water quality in many states, and violates sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. I urge you to give up your financial stake in the Dakota Access pipeline immediately.”

The event was one of several in the Montreal area to show solidarity with the water protectors trying to stop the DAPL at Standing Rock. On November 15, a group of activists in Montreal’s St-Henri and Pointe St-Charles neighbourhoods blocked train tracks in response to a call to action made by Indigenous leaders at Standing Rock to take to the streets and disrupt “business-as-usual.”

In a written statement, the blockaders noted the city is itself on unceded Mohawk lands. “With the lives of communities and the natural world in danger from large petroleum companies and the banks that support them, resistance against these destructive projects has become necessary around the world, including in Montreal and the rest of Quebec.”

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The same day, about 200 people from Kahnawake gathered along Highway 132 to protest the pipeline – only weeks after a number of people from the same community protested on the Mercier Bridge across the St. Lawrence River to protest the proposed Energy East pipeline through Quebec.

A delegation from Kahnawake also met with a representative at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa last week to denounce the violence that has taken place at Standing Rock in recent months. They gave minister-counsellor Stuart Dwyer a letter for President Barack Obama, calling on him to order the FBI to investigate the tactics being employed at the protests and to end to the military presence at the site.

Finally, Ryan Young, a city councillor in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue on the western tip of the island of Montreal, organized a benefit concert November 5 to raise funds for the protest camp in Standing Rock. Among the performers were The Buffalo Hat Singers and Barbara Diabo, Timothy Armstrong, Josh Adams, Sarah Rossy, Bill Gossage and Connie Kaldor.

Here is a list of Canadian bank funding sources of the DAPL and how you can contact them:

TD Securities*

Chairman, CEO, and President Bob Dorrance

Corporate Office:
P.O. Box 1, TD Bank Tower
66 Wellington Street W
Toronto, Ontario
M5K 1A2

Investment Banking: 416-307-8500

Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)

CEO and President Brian J. Porter

Corporate Office:
Scotia Plaza
44 King Street W
Toronto, Ontario
M5H 1H1

Royal Bank of Canada

CEO David I. McKay

CEO and Board Communications:
Paul French

Corporate Address:

200 Bay Street P.O. Box 1
Royal Bank Plaza
Toronto, Ontario
416-974-5151 & 416-842-2000

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