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Dear Minister Freeland and Mr James Graham,

We are writing to express our support for Greenpeace's request that Minister Freeland make a public commitment to strengthen the government's regulation of Canadian banks by requiring them to align their investments with the Paris goal of limiting warming to 1.5C.

We believe the regulation of the banks in Canada has become critical. Since Canada signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, Canadian banks have invested over $1 trillion in the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. These investments are now driving further climate breakdown, threatening the lives and livelihoods of thousands in Canada and around the world. It is clear that the banks are not going to regulate themselves. A climate-aligned finance act, such as that being put forward by Senator Rosa Galvez, is therefore necessary if we are to move the financial industry to stop its enabling of environmentally damaging projects, and instead make the investments required for a climate-safe future for our children and all future generations.

We understand that the recent actions of the Greenpeace activists were disruptive and no doubt unwelcome. But we also understand why they felt compelled to take this action. The truth is that many climate-concerned citizens in Toronto and beyond are feeling increasingly frustrated with the government's record on climate action. While we are glad to see steps being made - such as the Greener Homes grants for retrofits program, the passage of the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, and the recent release of the emissions cap framework - we are very aware that the fossil fuel industry continues to lobby, apparently successfully, to weaken climate legislation. In the face of this, there is a growing sense among the climate-concerned that the voice of civil society organizations do not carry nearly as much weight with our government.

Indeed, we are concerned that not only the banks but our own government continues to invest more of our public money in the fossil fuel industry - by providing subsidies (both direct cash transfers and tax breaks) and by funding expensive yet unproven solutions such as carbon capture and storage - than in the solutions we need - transit, building retrofitting, regenerative agriculture, renewable energy. Frankly, funding the expansion of the industry driving climate breakdown, even while supporting some of the initiatives required to mitigate climate change, seems akin to pouring oil on a roaring house fire at one end, and offering buckets of water at the other.

We believe that strong leadership on climate action is needed now more than ever - and this will mean standing up to the fossil fuel industry and clearly committing to a transition off fossil fuels and on to clean renewable energy. We therefore urge the Minister to use her considerable powers to support and effect this transition, including by publicly committing to support climate-aligned finance regulations.

We are fast running out of time to prevent irreversible climate breakdown and later is too late.


Anne Keary
Sharon Bider
Liz Addison