Nov 10, 2017 - Divest The Globe Montreal Action by Isabelle L’Héritier

In Montreal, on unceded traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) nation, a collective of grassroots groups and indigenous women supported by Greenpeace Quebec and Treaty Alliance against Tar Sands Expansion organised a rally joining Mazaska Talks’s call to #DivestTheGlobe. They gathered to demand Mouvement Desjardins to stop funding the tar sands pipelines and the compagnies that construct them. After having approved a loan of 145 million dollars to Kinder Morgan for their Trans Mountain pipeline project, the Mouvement des Caisses Desjardins announced last july a moratorium on all new investment in pipelines. However, Desjardins has still not made this moratorium permanent nor withdrawn its current investments, despite the official demands of the First Nations and citizens of Quebec opposed to the Trans Mountain, Keystone XL and Line 3 pipelines.

Financial institutions like Desjardins that claim to be ‘responsible’ should not invest in projects that violate the rights of Indigenous Peoples, threaten flora and fauna, damage precious ecosystems and imperil the drinking water of millions of people. These kinds of projects chain us to a dangerous dependence on fossil fuels and pose too many risks to be tenable. « Already, some large international banks such as BNP Paribas, ING and US Bank have withdrawn from these pipeline projects. It is time that Desjardins to follow the same path and be the first bank in Quebec to totally divest from fossil fuels and projects violating first nations consent and Mother Earth. They must invest in community-based social and ecological transition the population demands », maintains Isabelle L’Héritier from Alternatives.

We are here for the next generation, not only for us, but for your kids. We need to protect our natural ressources and territories. We are facing an important problem not only for first nations, but for every nation. We need to not only talk, but to act and make sur the aggreements are respected », states Tayka Raymond, Ojibwe Métis from Manitoba.

This global indigenous-led action has been very important for us as we need to connect more our local struggles to broader initiatives and reach out to groups in similar fights accross Turtle Island and the Globe. « People of all colours from the 4 directions are standing up together UNITED. We are uniting for the love of the planet and to show the greedy corporations enough is enough. Our actions have a ripple effect across Turtle Island », supports Konwenni Jacobs, Mohawk from Kahnawake.

We need to keep these compagnies and institutions responsible for what they are doing. They are destroying our planet. We will keep standing for what we believe in and the First Nations have showed us the way with the mouvement at Standing Rock », states Patrick Bonin, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Quebec.

The groups in Quebec fighting to protect the waterways and the land and stop the expansion of the tar sands, pressure multiple banks and financial institutions to divest and stop tar sands at the source. « Due to populare pressure, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (a major institutional investor that holds almost 300 billion dollars in assets and manages our pension funds) recently announced it plans to reduce the carbon footprint of its overall portfolio by 25 % by 2025. This engagement is hugely insufficient as the CDPQ has more than $16 billion invested in fossil fuel projects. Its funds are being used right now to actively violate the inherent, treaty, constitutional and international rights of indigenous people, through projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline. We refuse to allow our pension funds to be used to violate indigenous rights. We call on Desjardins and the CDPQ to be leaders in moving Quebec towards a more socially just and environmentally safe society! », adds Jen Gobby from Climate Justice Montréal.

Water Protector groups all over Quebec are actively fighting the anti-democratic Bill 106, adopted under closure by the government, which gives companies the right to expropriate municipal land to extract oil. Citizens and mayors of 331 Quebec municipalities oppose this ecocide bill.

We will not stop fighting for a safer and sustainable future for the generations to come. We will continue to unite and connect with the struggles here and accross Turtle Island and the globe.

by Isabelle L’Héritier

Last Real Indians