Peace activists demand CPP divestment from war profiteers

By Ed Lehman 

An October 12 meeting of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) was dominated by peace advocates calling for divestment from war profiteers.

Ed Lehman of the Regina Peace Council observed that “CPP invests over $870 million into global weapons dealers including some that are the biggest arms manufacturers in the world.” Lehman singled out Lockheed Martin for special mention, noting its contract to build 88 new fighter jets at a cost of $19 billion initially and $80 billion over the lifetime of the jets. Lehman stated that such purchases are helping to bring about World War 3 at a time when Canada should be contributing to a de-escalation of tensions. Lehman urged CPPIB to divest $76 million from Lockheed Martin and to invest that in renewable energy or Canada’s infrastructure.

Renee Nunan-Rappard questioned the ethics of making profit from wars. Like Lehman she linked the CPP investments in armaments to the making of wars and noted their contribution to human rights violations. Nunan-Rappard referenced the UN database which lists companies that have been complicit with human rights violations, and she asked why CPP is invested in 11 of these companies. Nunan-Rappard also mentioned that many Canadians including MPs have called for divestment from weapons manufacturers and military contractors. She drew attention to the relationship between wars, carbon emissions and environmental degradation, and she objected to the CPPIB excuse that they could effect “change from within.”

Pat Colpitts stated that she is “troubled Canada is now a warmonger and not a peacemaker” and asked why the CPPIB doesn’t invest in a nation-wide train and bus service. Others in the audience expressed agreement with Lehman and Nunan-Rappard.

Prior to the meeting the peace workers stood outside the meeting venue with their placards calling for divestment from war profiteers.

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