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'They are very, very powerful': Edmonton rally against RBC part of nationwide climate action plea


A handful of Edmontonians participated in a nationwide demonstration against Canada's biggest bank's continued support of fossil fuel projects.

The group gathered outside the Royal Bank of Canada's branch at Unity Square Saturday afternoon, sharing messages about the need to divest from non-renewable energy sources as climate change affects more communities across the world.

Similar protests were held at 39 other locations across the country in Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Halifax and Vancouver on April's Fool Day ahead of the bank's annual general meeting for shareholders. Many of the events used 'fossil fool's day' messaging.

"They are very, very powerful," said Josefine Singh, an organizer in Edmonton. "If they do a good thing, every other bank will do a good thing too. It's an influencing thing."

Singh said she hopes shareholders accelerate the pace of divestment from energy sources that negatively impact the environment and greenhouse gas emissions.

"We want to influence them," she added. "So that they can vote; please don't invest more in oil and gas."

"We want to hold them accountable."

Protesters gathered outside the Unity Square RBC branch in central Edmonton on Saturday, April 1, 2023 (CTV News Edmonton/John Hanson).

Some protesters held signs saying, "Fossil fool me once, shame on you," and "Solidarity with Wet'suwet'en." Others chanted or sang, "No more investing in pollution."

RBC has outlined a plan to reduce its financed emissions by 2030, with an end goal of achieving net-zero status by 2050.

"We have committed to providing $500 billion in sustainable finance by 2025, and we have provided $198 billion towards this goal as of the end of 2021," the bank says on its climate commitment website.

With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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