CARR Raps War Stocks
B.C. Green party leader Adriane Carr has stated that she supports divesting civil servants' pension funds from corporations linked to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In a May 4 letter to Vancouver-Hastings independent candidate Will Offley, Carr wrote: "We find it utterly reprehensible that public service pension funds would be invested in corporations that contribute to the devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people. We fully support divesting public pension funds from any companies that are so involved."
Earlier this year, Offley examined the investment portfolio of British Columbia Investment Management Corp., a provincial Crown corporation that invests pension funds of provincial and municipal civil servants, college employees, and teachers. Offley discovered that as of March 31, 2004 (the last point for which data is available), BCIMC had invested $4.6 billion in the shares of 251 companies that provide goods and services to the U.S. Department of Defense or are otherwise involved in military production.
Offley and several other antiwar activists stated in an April 26 letter to NDP leader Carole James that eight of the companies manufacture 16 different types of bombs used in Iraq, including cluster bombs. Eight different firms supply at least 17 different missiles to the Pentagon. SNC-Lavalin, one of the companies on the list, is involved in producing 300 million to 500 million bullets per year for the U.S. Armed Forces.
"What this means is that every nurse, physiotherapist, floor cleaner and pharmacist in every hospital in the B.C. health care system, every kindergarten teacher, college instructor and university professor, every city worker, garbage collector, computer programmer, firefighter, ferry worker, B.C. transit driver, ICBC employee, B.C. Hydro worker-in fact, virtually every municipal and provincial public sector employee-is involuntarily supporting the U.S. invasion and occupation, because of decisions taken behind closed doors by the B.C. IMC," they wrote in their letter.
Offley told the Straight that James has not replied. He claimed that the B.C. NDP is not prepared to do something practical in support of the people of Iraq if it means offending the Business Council of B.C. and the Vancouver Board of Trade.