Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Tar Sands Protesters Hang Banner at RBC’s Toronto Headquarters

Tar Sands Protesters Hang Banner at RBC’s Toronto Headquarters
By Sean B. Pasternak and Doug Alexander

July 28 (Bloomberg) -- Protesters hung a 15-foot-long banner at the Toronto headquarters of Royal Bank of Canada, asking the wife of Chief Executive Officer Gordon Nixon to help end the bank’s involvement in funding tar sands projects.

“Please Help Us, Mrs. Nixon.com,” read the banner, hung this morning on poles near the entrance of the headquarters of Canada’s largest bank. A group of firefighters, reporters and about two dozen onlookers watched as police removed the banner.

Rainforest Action Network, a San Francisco-based environmental-activist group that led the protest, said Royal Bank lent C$2.2 billion ($2.03 billion) in 2007 alone to oil and gas companies operating in Alberta’s tar sands, which hold deposits of bitumen, a type of crude that can be processed by oil refiners.

The group wants Janet Nixon to “lend her strong and influential voice to the campaign,” said Joshua Kahn Russell, a spokesman for the group. Kahn Russell said Janet Nixon was named on the banner because she is a “committed environmentalist.”

Janet Nixon didn’t immediately respond to a message left at her home.

“The idea is to send the message that RBC is the ATM of the tar sands,” Kahn Russell said in an interview. “We’re asking them to pull their financing from the tar sands and protect indigenous rights.”

Royal Bank spokeswoman Katherine Gay said the bank has been having an “ongoing dialogue” with the group for months.

“We’re really proud of our reputation in terms of environmental responsibility,” Gay said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sean B. Pasternak in Toronto at spasternak@bloomberg.net; Doug Alexander in Toronto at dalexander3@bloomberg.net


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