World Politics

Quebecers’ savings fueling apartheid –

Graffiti denouncing the apartheid system of Israel's government against Palestinians.

In 2019, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) – Quebec’s pension fund – became the largest shareholder in one of the leading security services providers in North America, Allied Universal. Even for CDPQ standards, this was a very big deal, some estimate the total investment to be over 1.5 billion dollars.

With such a massive investment of Quebecers’ hard-earned cash, one would expect the CDPQ to rigorously monitor and govern how this money is being used. It turns out it was used to enter into the apartheid business.

A short time after CDPQ’s purchase of Allied Universal, the latter acquired G4S, another security service provider. This should have raised red flags at CDPQ headquarters since G4S’s misconduct and controversies are well documented.

Most egregious of these controversies is G4S’s history of aiding and abetting Israel’s brutal security infrastructure. A human rights complaint to the OECD detailed how G4S provided and maintained screening equipment to several West Bank and Gaza military checkpoints, bases and colonies, helping Israel implement restrictions on movement of Palestinians. G4S also provided various other security services to the Israeli military and police. Ultimately, G4S was able to turn a good profit off Israel’s violent subjugation of the Palestinian people.

Fortunately, following organized campaigns by human rights organisations and the BDS movement targeting G4S, the company finally decided to divest from its Israeli subsidiary in 2016.

Despite this forced divestment, however, G4S continues to be active in enabling Israeli crimes. This time, its support of, and profiteering from apartheid are being carried out through its important stake in Policity Ltd.

Again, it is hard to understand how this investment went under CDPQ’s radar, as Policity’s participation in Israeli abuses against Palestinians is almost as ubiquitous as was G4S’s prior subsidiary in that country. Policity, for example, has made money by partnering with the Israeli police to build and operate Israel’s National Police Academy.

Make no mistake about it, the Israeli police service is not a small-time operation tasked with handing out parking tickets. According to Human Rights Watch, the Israeli police force is one of the main state organs engaged in the violent repression of Palestinians opposing Israel’s military occupation (think violent repression of protesters, house raids, brutal interrogation techniques, abuse…

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