Today, I am proud to support the disinvestment of Quebec government funds in fossil fuels. This year the 350.org is pushing very hard with a disinvestment campaign targeting funds invested by universities, cities, and pension funds.
The time has now come to conduct this campaign for the Government of Quebec; let us be among the first to talk about it. The students at McGill are already running an extraordinary campaign at this institution and I am confident that they will soon achieve very good results.
How to conduct this campaign within the Government of Quebec?
The Caisse de dépôts et placements du Québec (CDP) is a $176 billion fund funded mainly by Quebecers’ pension funds and the reserves of public insurance plans, including the CSST and the SAAQ.
According to a 2012 report issued by the Institut de recherche en économie contemporain (IRÉC), the Caisse de dépôt had more than $5.425 billion in assets under in major oil companies, including Enbridge, Suncor, and Canadian Natural Resources. Investments in the oil industry represented more than 14% of the fund’s portfolio in shares of publicly traded companies.
These funds belong to all of us. Even if the National Assembly of Quebec has all the necessary means to control these funds, they do the opposite. In 2005, Jean Charest’s government revised CDP’s mandate in order to seek the “optimal return on the capital of its depositors”. This change of mandate was intended to exaggerate guilt and unbridled capitalism with our pension funds by setting the goal of making the maximum profit possible, regardless of the consequences.
The consequences of this decision were quickly felt during the 2008 financial crisis. In this crisis, CDPQ lost more than $40 billion on its investments in commercial paper, a high-risk foreign financial product.
It is high time that the Green Party of Quebec spoke out loud and clear on this subject.
Candidate for the leadership of the Green Party of Quebec