Ahead of budget, Greenpeace activists in Minister Freeland’s office demanding climate action and banking regulations

Ahead of budget, Greenpeace activists in Minister Freeland’s office demanding climate action and banking regulations

TORONTO – Earlier this morning, Greenpeace Canada activists entered Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s downtown Toronto office calling on the Liberal government to stop backsliding on existing climate commitments and commit to regulating Canadian fossil banks in the 2024 federal budget. As the Liberal government delays or waters down long-promised climate policies and refuses to rein in irresponsible bank funding of fossil fuels, the protesters are vowing to remain there as long as needed for Minister Freeland to understand the urgency of climate action.[1][2][3] 

“Year after year, we’re seeing record-breaking temperatures, wildfires and air pollution hurt more and more people, while our banks add fuel to this fire. They can’t be trusted to regulate themselves, so it’s time for decision-makers to step in. Today we are giving Minister Chrystia Freeland a chance to show she supports meaningful climate action. Until then, she’ll know where to find us,” said Jennifer Ocquidant, one of the activists at the Minister’s office.

Since Canada signed onto the Paris Agreement in 2015, RBC, Scotiabank, TD, BMO and CIBC have increased their fossil fuel finance by over $1 trillion and fallen short on their voluntary climate pledges, laying bare the need for the government to intervene and align the banking sector with Canada’s climate commitments. With the release of a new Federal Budget just around the corner, Greenpeace activists are calling on Minister Freeland to ramp up rather than backslide on climate action, including climate-aligned finance legislation. [4]

“It is no secret that the Liberal government recently weakened key elements of its climate plan in the face of an aggressive lobbying campaign from the oil industry and Conservative politicians. We are here to remind Minister Freeland that later is too late when it comes to fighting climate change: no more backsliding or delays,” said Keith Stewart, Senior Energy Strategist at Greenpeace Canada. 

The activists pointed to recent weakening of the proposed oil and gas emissions cap and carbon pricing system, as well as delays in implementing the long-promised clean electricity and zero emissions vehicle regulations, as causes for concern.[5][6][7]

To provide a lasting reminder, Greenpeace activists have begun redecorating her office with sobering images of climate-fueled disasters such as framed photos of this past summer’s wildfires and darkened ash-filled skies, floods and families fleeing devastation. They also left behind recommended reading material — from copies of Senator Rosa Galvez’ Climate Aligned Finance Act to John Vaillant’s award-winning Fire Weather

ENDS

Notes to editor:

Photos and B-roll videos from the activity can be found on Greenpeace media library. Additional photos and videos will be uploaded throughout the day. 

Over 200 Greenpeace supporters who are also constituents of Minister Freeland’s have written to her, asking her to regulate fossil banks.

In September 2023, Greenpeace Canada representatives, including two individuals currently in her office,  met directly with Minister Freeland’s staff to discuss bank regulation and climate action. 

[1] https://liberal.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/292/2021/09/Platform-Forward-For-Everyone.pdf

[2] https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/liberal-government-unveils-oil-gas-cap-1.7051803

[3] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/carbon-tax-home-heating-1.7010767    

[4] https://www.bankingonclimatechaos.org/ 

[5] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/carbon-tax-home-heating-1.7010767

[6] https://liberal.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/292/2021/09/Platform-Forward-For-Everyone.pdf 

[7] https://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/press-release/62427/greenpeace-canada-reaction-to-the-federal-governments-oil-and-gas-emissions-cap-announcement/ 

For more information, please contact:

On-site: 

Claire Le Saux, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Canada

claire.lesaux@greenpeace.org; +1 438 925-0794

From the office:

Laura Bergamo, Head of Media, Greenpeace Canada

laura.bergamo@greenpeace.org ; + 1 438 928-5237

,Read More  Greenpeace Canada  

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