CDPQ takes steps to address Israeli war crimes while maintaining investments

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec cuts ties with Israeli police training but accusations of complicity remain

CDPQ takes steps to address Israeli war crimes while maintaining investments

Allied Universal, a leading security services company, has severed ties with Policity, Israel's police academy, due to pressure from the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ).

The move comes amidst accusations of complicity with Israeli war crimes and human rights violations. G4S, which had a stake in the consortium operating Policity, is selling its shares to the Israeli company G1, known for its involvement in human rights violations.

Bruce Katz, co-founder of Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU), hailed the news as a positive development. “It is good news that Allied Universal is shedding itself of Policity which has been involved in well-documented war crimes and human rights violations perpetrated over the year by the Israeli police,” said Katz.

During a financial public review in the Quebec legislature, Haroun Bouazzi from the Québec Solidaire party raised concerns about CDPQ's investments in Allied Universal and its alleged complicity in the torture of Palestinian prisoners, including children. CDPQ's CEO, Emond, responded, stating, "This is not the kind of activity we endorse at all."

“However, while the sell-off by Allied Universal is welcome news, there are still over 90 companies in the CDPQ portfolio that have been documented to be complicit with Israeli war crimes," said Katz. "So the real question is, why is CDPQ comfortable to continue with $12.5 billion of investments in these other companies that are complicit with Israeli war crimes.”

CDPQ's portfolio includes several companies identified by the UN as complicit in human rights violations, as well as $3.5 billion shares in WSP Global, currently under investigation by the UN.

Additionally, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Investigate project has identified over 80 other complicit companies with a value of $6.5 billion held by CDPQ.

“In Canada, parties that are complicit in war crimes are liable to criminal prosecution under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, including corporations,” said Denis Kosseim, an academic from Montreal. “We would expect the CDPQ would want to exclude such companies based on the unacceptable risk associated with the systematic violations of international law by the companies, as it has done with Allied Universal and its reported influence in getting them to sell off Policity.”

In response to these concerns, CDPQ spokesman Conrad Harrington emphasized the organization's commitment to human rights and adherence to rigorous Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria.

“[CDPD] takes any human rights allegations very seriously and [CDPQ] is one of the world’s most respected investors when it comes to ESG criteria—which we apply rigorously and consistently," he said.

As the trustee of Quebec's public pension plan, CDPQ is expected to exercise enhanced due diligence to ensure its investments comply with Canada's responsibilities under international and domestic law.