Two women clergy joined an assistant film and television producer in a sit-in protest at TD headquarters, Thursday. They sat down with Skedline.com to explain why they did it.
Taylor Flook, Maggie Helwig and Andrea Budgey locked their necks along the hand rails of the business accounts line and quietly held signs denoting their stance against the bank’s financial support for the controversial pipeline project in North Dakota.
They demanded to speak to president and CEO of TD Securities Bob Dorrance.
“One person made a vague statement about trying to get somebody on the phone but that never went anywhere,” said Helwig.
Security staff locked down the bank and evacuated customers. None remained but a few people who had come to support the women in their demonstration.
A rally of approximately 75 to 100 protestors had gathered outside the bank to show their solidarity with the women.
Helwig,55,a long-time social justice activist, poet and Anglican priest said that they wanted Dorrance to condemn the violence that security forces were carrying out against Indigenous protesters in North Dakota.
“It was a really soft ask,” said Budgey,54, a fellow priest and colleague of Helwig’s at the Church of Saint Stephen in the Fields.
“And make sure that the pipeline company that you have given $360 million to knows that you’re not happy with the way it’s being used,” said Flook, 34.
The social justice activist, film and television production assistant said the amount was published in an article by Ricochet Media.
Canadian Banks Fund Dakota Access Pipeline Companies: Investigation released in September identified TD as the seventh largest investor of the pipeline.
The Royal Bank of Canada and Scotiabank are also among the two dozen financial institutions backing the project.
Despite protests at various TD locations including Vancouver , Philadelphia, and New Jersey, nobody at the firm would speak in response to the demonstrations with the exception of a statement e-mailed to Skedline.com.
“TD supports responsible energy development. We employ due diligence in our lending and investing activities relating to energy production, and we work with our customers, community and environment groups, and energy clients to better understand key issues of concern, and to promote informed dialogue. We also respect the rights of people to voice their opinions and protest in a peaceful way,” said TD Corporate Communications in an e-mailed statement.
Toronto police have charged Budgey and Flook with trespass and mischief under $5000. They will appear in court on Tuesday, Dec. 20.