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QS wants the Caisse to withdraw its marbles from Gaza and Israel

Photo: Jacques Boissinot archives The Canadian Press Québec solidaire MP Haroun Bouazzi, in Quebec, March 12, 2024.

Quebecers' nest egg money has no place in Israel and the Gaza Strip, criticizes Québec solidaire (QS). In an interview, and with supporting figures, MP Haroun Bouazzi urges the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) to reconsider certain of its investments.

« Caisse de dépôt must absolutely avoid becoming complicit in the colonization of the occupied Palestinian territories, in the apartheid system that is rife in Israel and Palestine, and now, more recently, in the war crimes that are underway in Gaza,” asserts the Montreal elected official on the other end of the phone.

Based on figures from the Canadian organization Movement for a Just Peace, Mr. Bouazzi points out a series of companies in which the CDPQ invests, and which do business, directly or indirectly, with the Netanyahu government.

7 This is the number of companies identified by Mr. Bouazzi, listed in the Caisse's most recent annual report, which have links, directly or indirectly, with the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Israeli settlements”

He refers in passing to the most recent United Nations (UN) database “on companies linked to the Occupied Palestinian Territory”. Launched in 2016, the base counts 112 private players who would participate in the installation of “Israeli settlements” in the Palestinian territories.

Mr. Bouazzi spotted seven companies listed in the Caisse's most recent annual report (2023). According to this information, counter-verified by Le Devoir, the nest egg of Quebecers holds $1.5 billion worth of shares, including nearly 1.2 billion in Alstom, the French company which notably supplied the trains for the Réseau express métropolitain in Montreal.

Also appearing in this UN list, as in the Caisse's investments: the Airbnb platform, the Expedia group or the American multinational Booking, as well as the Israeli banks Leumi and Hapoalim.

“There are several analyzes of the various investments of the Fund that exist and which show that a certain number of them are in companies which participate in violations of international law,” argues Mr. Bouazzi. “It is time for the Fund to divest from these companies or force them to no longer operate in the occupied territories. »


In January, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to prevent any possible act of “genocide » and to allow access for humanitarian aid groups to Gaza, where fighting has raged since the Hamas attacks on October 7. Since then, the military activity of the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, and more recently in Rafah, has continued to intensify.

Haroun Bouazzi calls for sense of “ethics” of the president and CEO of the CDPQ, Charles Emond, whom he questioned on this subject in a parliamentary committee last month. It is not normal, according to Mr. Bouazzi, for the Caisse to have shares ($62 million) in Lockheed Martin, an arms company which supplies military aircraft to the Netanyahu government.

“Today, the Caisse continues to invest in this type of company. It’s obvious that Lockheed Martin is one of those in which it’s much easier to divest,” says Mr. Bouazzi.

When asked about its investments in Israel and in Palestine, the CDPQ confirms that it is following “the evolution of the conflict closely”. “[We] are obviously concerned about its impact on populations in the region,” writes the director of communications and outreach for Quebec, Jean-Benoît Houde, in an email addressed to Devoir.

“I can also confirm to you that almost all of our investments in the region [which represent less than 0.1% of our assets] are under external management,” he adds. “We maintain an ongoing dialogue with our portfolio companies on these topics. »

Questioned directly by Mr. Bouazzi during the study of the Caisse's budgetary appropriations in April, Mr. Emond affirmed that he had “not intending to increase [the] investments in a region that is in conflict.”

“We continue to apply our human rights policies. And then, we will carefully monitor all investments [which might not meet] the criteria we have set ,” he said.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116