Members of Greater Toronto for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (GT4BDS) rallied on August 28 outside the head office of the Canada Pension Plan to demand an end to CPP investment in Israeli Apartheid.
The CPP Investment Board manages over $328.2 billion in investment assets for CPP on behalf of 20 million Canadians. That includes millions of dollars in at least ten companies named by the 2021 United Nations Human Rights Report as complicit in Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians. While most of those companies named were Israeli Banks, which finance Israel’s illegal settlements as well as Israeli weapons and surveillance industries, complicit American companies include:
- Motorola, which provides the Israeli military with surveillance, biometric identification and checkpoint infrastructure used against Palestinian civilians;
- Expedia, Booking Holdings, and
- Air BNB, whose businesses use and serve the illegal settlement infrastructure.
CPP also invests in WSP, a Canadian management and consulting firm that specializes in international engineering projects, which constitutes a significant portion of CPP’s Canadian portfolio.
According to the Israeli research group Who Profits, WSP is involved in planning the Israeli railway system that goes into the occupied West Bank (as well as East Jerusalem), which is illegal settlement infrastructure. This destroys Palestinian property and contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition of an Occupying Power taking over or moving its population into occupied territory. Who Profits lists CPPIB as a major shareholder in WSP.
The GT4BDS protest, endorsed by the Canadian BDS Coalition, Independent Jewish Voices, Palestine House, 905 for Palestine, CBC Palestine 48, Just Peace Advocates, Socialist Action, CUPE Local 3902 U of Toronto Flying Squad, and the NDP Socialist Caucus, attracted the attention of hundreds of passersby with leaflets, speeches and chants at the busy intersection of Yonge and Queen streets. “No Canadian Dollars for Israeli Apartheid!”, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!” and “Free, Free Palestine!” echoed between the skyscrapers. Dozens of people stopped to sign a petition calling on the CPPIB to divest from businesses involved in Israeli Apartheid.
The CPP was created by Act of Parliament in 1977. It reports through the Minister of Finance, Liberal Deputy Prime Minister and Toronto Centre MP Chrystia Freeland. The federal government appoints the nominating committee that selects members of the Investment Board. Absent is any accountability to workers, pensioners and the general public. Thanks to Nety Marroquin for the photos posted below.