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Update from the Wild Salmon Action Team

The long campaign to remove the open-net pen fish farms that threaten our wild Pacific salmon is generating some positive results! To find out about a recent win in federal court, and about an investigation into the integrity of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, click here.

While floating open-net pen fish farms continue to threaten our wild Pacific salmon, the long campaign by First Nations and other organizations like our Wild Salmon Action Team to remove them from our coast is generating some positive results!

On June 9, a federal court upheld a 2023 decision by former federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray to not renew the licences of 15 farms around the Discovery Islands, a vital migration route for juvenile salmon heading to the Pacific Ocean. The decision had been challenged by two First Nations and three fish farm companies. The judge found that her decision met the “requirement of the duty to consult” and “did not breach the operators’ rights of procedural fairness.” From more than 100, the number of farms on the BC coast is now reduced to less than 60!

WSAT and others have long protested that the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), which manages farm licences, ignores peer-reviewed science that the farms are an existential treat to wild Pacific salmon. In early May, we learned that the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner is investigating allegations that senior fisheries officials attempted to silence scientists involved in research related to the threat of open-net pen fish farms to salmon. The Commissioner is concerned that department officials may have seriously attempted “to silence scientists through reprimands [and] to dissuade them from communicating with the media and the public about their research.” She will also be looking into whether the officials attempted to obstruct or influence the testimony of department scientists before the House of Commons standing committee on fisheries and oceans.

A federal government decision about renewing the farm licences, and about a plan to transition away from open-net pen farms, is due by the end of June.

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Vancouver Unitarians vote to encourage members to move money out of Big 5 Banks

Vancouver, BC – As the world braces for another disappointing conclusion of the annual global climate talks, COP 28 in Dubai, Vancouver Unitarians “light one candle rather than curse the darkness.” We believe that action is the antidote to despair, so we have voted to encourage our members to defund fossil fuels by moving money out of Canada’s big five banks which bankroll the Tar Sands and climate chaos worldwide.

Vancouver Unitarians have voted to formally oppose bank investment in fossil fuels and encourage members to move their money out of the Big 5 Canadian banks, namely RBC, TD, Scotiabank, BMO and CIBC. The resolution also encourages members to drop investments in fossil fuels and the Big 5 Canadian banks and affirms solidarity with Indigenous Peoples who oppose fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure on their traditional territories.

The Big 5 Canadian banks are among the top global financiers of fossil fuels, having financed over $1.12 trillion CAD in climate-wrecking fossil fuel projects since 2016. This includes providing key financing for Coastal Gaslink Pipeline and Trans Mountain Pipeline, two pipeline projects that do not have consent from Indigenous nations whose territories they cross. RBC in particular was the world’s top fossil fuel financier in 2022. 

The resolution received 76% support at the Vancouver Unitarians 2023 AGM held Nov. 19. The Vancouver Unitarians are a diverse community of spiritual practice that have advocated for social and environmental causes since their founding in 1909. In 2012, the Vancouver Unitarians divested from pipeline companies and passed a resolution encouraging its members to do the same. Members have been active in opposing the Trans Mountain pipeline with several having been arrested for breaking the injunction.

The Seventh Unitarian Principle calls on us to “respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” “It is incumbent upon us to align our actions with our values, especially at such a pivotal juncture for humanity,” says Karl Perrin of the Vancouver Unitarians’ Environment Team. “After a summer of record-breaking heat waves and wildfires from coast to coast, we are running out of time to slow this ticking time bomb. We need to do everything we can to stand up for younger and future generations.”

The resolution adds to a growing movement of Indigenous leaders, students, faith groups, environmental NGOs, celebrities, filmmakers, and more that are pressuring the Big 5 banks to divest from fossil fuels and projects that violate Indigenous rights. The Wet’suwet’en Nation has called on the international community to support them in their campaign to pressure RBC to drop the Coastal Gaslink pipeline, which crosses their territory without consent. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs have similarly called on the banks to drop the Trans Mountain project. 

As Unitarians committed to dismantling systemic racism, we are compelled to speak out against actors that perpetuate racial injustice and colonialism,” says Tamiko Suzuki of VU IBPOC Plus Allies team. “By financing projects such as the Coastal Gaslink pipeline here in BC, the Big Banks are complicit in environmental racism and the criminalization of land and water protectors while also contributing to a climate crisis that hurts the poorest people of the world most.”

The Vancouver Unitarians are not alone in breaking ties with the big banks. Last March, the UofT student union voted to ban sponsorships from RBC and close its RBC bank account, following nationwide student protests. In August, over 200 filmmakers and movie stars signed a letter calling on TIFF to drop RBC as its sponsor. 


For interviews, please contact Karl Perrin of the Vancouver Unitarians’ Environment Team. Email: perrink[at]shaw[dot]ca.

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Vancouver Unitarians vote to move their money for Climate Justice 

Members vote to divest from Canada’s Big 5 Banks over fossil fuel financing

As a co-operative and democratic community, Vancouver Unitarian members voted by a large majority at our Annual General Meeting last weekend to encourage our members, who bank at the five major Canadian banks, to move their financial business elsewhere because Canadian banks are among the largest financiers of fossil fuel corporations operating in the Canadian Tar Sands and elsewhere.

Vancouver Unitarians are an inclusive and welcoming community, dedicated to spiritual growth, social justice, and reverence for nature and all life. We embody these values through worship, ethical action, artistic expression, and religious education for all ages that aim to connect hearts, heads, and hands.

Vancouver Unitarians have a long history of multifaith environmental and climate justice initiatives, and we encourage all members of faith communities and organizations to divest from fossil fuel corporations and the financial institutions backing them.

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Still some tickets available! Concert tonight featuring Luke Wallace in the Sanctuary

There are still some tickets available for what promises to be an amazing evening of songs, storytelling, and solidarity tonight in our Sanctuary at 49th and Oak. (You can purchase tickets on a sliding scale here:

Luke Wallace headlines tonight’s show, which will bring together storytellers, spoken word and a chorus of voices to sing songs of praise and protest for our world. This event is a fundraiser for RAVEN’s Breathing Lands campaign, supporting 10 Indigenous Nations who are in court to protect Canada’s boreal peatlands: lands and waters that sequester more carbon than the Amazon rainforest.

All funds raised tonight go towards RAVEN Trust’s Breathing Lands campaign.

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“All We Can Save” Book Study Group

An invitation from Metro Vancouver Unitarian Zero Waste Group:

Are you hungry for deeper dialogue about the climate crisis and building community around solutions? 

This question opens the description of the small-group discussion program Circles, based on the 2021 anthology All We Can Save. Find out more about the online resources and format of the series here:

Join Unitarians from congregations near and far in a Zoom series of ten conversations. We’ll keep the group sizes small for optimum participation. For a sample of the thinking behind the program, watch this 2022 TED talk by co-author Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson:

We’ll kick off the sessions with a Zoom introduction on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, at 12 noon and hope to finish up by November, meeting about twice per month with optional summer breaks.

Zoom link is the same as for our monthly book group:

Click HERE to sign up for more information:

Marcia Stephenson & Mary Bennett, Metro Vancouver Unitarian Zero Waste Group 


Hard copies ($39) and softcover ($24) are available at Banyen Books or if they’re out they can order in for you within a couple of days.

One softcover is also available in UCV library donated by Mary Bennett.

I recommend the hard copy. The smaller softcover makes reading challenging. It’s a small font and grey-toned not black. – Mary

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