Divesting from our part in this chain of abuse is where Canadians can start to reclaim control and live up to our values through reduced risk in one of the world’s most riskiest markets.
From the detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig to the persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities within its borders, China has rapidly lost its appeal to Canadians as a trading partner. As revealed by an Angus Reid poll earlier this year, 61 percent of those surveyed indicated they would prefer less trade between our two countries. A further 88 percent believed this direction was a realistic option and one that would not negatively affect the economy.
Driving this mood for change, the poll found, is a desire to “prioritize human rights” and “rule of law” in Canada’s dealings with China.
Given that Canada’s Parliament was the first legislative body in the world to recognize China’s actions against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province as genocide, and broad acknowledgment of the forced labour of 80,000 Uyghurs for Chinese and foreign multinationals, the dangers of investment in a market unaligned to Canadian values is a choice many of us, it seems, no longer want to risk.
One site of action Canadians can direct their attention to is our Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions.
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), which manages the federal government’s Canada Pension Plan, one of the 10 largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, invests a whopping $57.5 billion in Chinese companies – 12 percent of its entire portfolio. Revenue from our returns on these investments, however, is “tainted by the forced labour of Uyghurs, either in the factories of these companies or their supply chains” – and that’s the message behind a petition launched by Stop Uyghur Genocide Canada, a Canadian-based human rights advocacy organization, Probe International is lending its support to.
Divesting from our part in this chain of abuse is where we can start to reclaim control and live up to our values through reduced risk in one of the world’s most riskiest markets.
As Stop Uyghur Genocide Canada notes:
As part of their guiding principles, CPP Investments aims to “at all times meet or exceed the high ethical standards expected of us by the over 20 million CPP contributors and beneficiaries.” (1).
Because China will not allow free and independent verification of labour conditions, the only way to avoid profiting from Uyghur forced labour is to divest from all Chinese companies and to divest from all multinational companies identified as using Uyghur forced labour in China.
So, what can we do?
The call to action is simple. Send a clear message to CCP Investments:
We do not want our financial futures to be built on Uyghur forced labour, suffering and persecution. We therefore urge CPP Investments to live up to the high ethical standards expected of them by Canadians and immediately 1) to divest from all Chinese companies, and 2) to divest from all multinational companies identified as using Uyghur forced labour in China.
To make this message count, sign the Stop Uyghur Genocide Canada petition to end our involvement in China’s oppression of Uyghurs and break the chain. Our values are on the line.
Sign, Send, Sever the chain: Go here to add your name to the signature campaign.
(1) https://www.cppinvestments.com/about-us/our-guiding-principles, under Integrity, Item 1.
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Categories: Rule of Law, Uncategorized
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