Rally in front of the ​Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec

Press release - September 8, 2017
Montréal, September 8, 2017 – Several citizen and student associations, environmental non-governmental groups, and people from Indigenous communities gathered today in front of the headquarters of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) in tandem with the 46th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)* , which started in Montreal on Wednesday. The groups demand that the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, a leading institutional major public and parapublic pension funds institution, in the country, respects climate science and divests from fossil fuels, to uphold the tenets of the Paris Agreement.

The “#tellthecaissetodivest” movement is demanding that the ​Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec respects science and divests from fossil fuels.

#SortonsLaCaisseDuCarbone_8 Septembre 2017_Montréal
© Sophie Bertrand

Montréal, September 8, 2017 –  Several citizen and student associations, environmental non-governmental groups, and people from Indigenous communities gathered today in front of the headquarters of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) in tandem with the 46th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)* , which started in Montreal on Wednesday.  The groups demand that the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, a leading institutional major public and parapublic pension funds institution, in the country, respects climate science and divests from fossil fuels, to uphold the tenets of the Paris Agreement.

The organizers sent a clear message to “#tellthecaissetodivest” (“#SortonsLaCaisseduCarbone”): it is not logical to develop new fossil fuel infrastructures if we hope to meet the primary objectives of the Paris Agreement, which are to prevent global warming from surpassing 2°C in comparison with existing pre-industrial levels, and to move towards the goal of constraining temperature increases to 1.5 °C. 

Kristen Perry, Coordinator of Mobilization and Associative Development at the Association for the Voice of Education in Quebec emphasized that: “as students, we know that fossil fuel corporations exacerbate climate change, cause environmental destruction, and are a threat to human rights and Indigenous sovereignty worldwide. The Caisse needs to stop being complicit in the destruction wrought by the fossil fuel industry and start investing in our future instead."

The rally taking place at the Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle gathered over 350 people dressed in blue, symbolically aiming to shed light on the increasing risk related to the carbon bubble for all concerned savers and taxpayers in Quebec. The viability of these projects is already decreasing, and investing in the fossil fuel sector contradicts all engagements towards the Paris Agreement as well as climate science. Moreover, it exposes the CDPQ to a major financial risk, given that several analyses predict significant the devaluation of shares and stocks in the coming decade.

Charlene Aleck Ts'simtelot, spokesperson of the Tseil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative, highlighted that "from coast to coast to coast we are all affected by climate change today. Divesting from fossil fuels and mega projects like Kinder Morgan and Energy East is the only choice to honour our grandchildren. At Tselil-Watuth Nation we are building green economy for all Canadians."

According to Karel Mayrand, Director general for Quebec and the Atlantic with the David Suzuki Foundation “every single new investment in fossil fuels delays the transition towards renewable energies and consequently locks in greenhouse gas emissions, not only in the near future but for decades to come. In sum, this increases the risks related to climate change and its irreversibility.”

The organizers underlined that between 2015 and 2016, the Caisse increased its investments in fossil fuels, with an average spike of its social shares of 76% in the oil and gas sectors, compared to 119% in the coal sector. All of this is in total opposed to the definition of a green energy transition. “Such a strategy is highly risky financially, aside from being unethical, in the sense that it threatens future generations. Simply put, our money today shouldn’t impoverish our children tomorrow” added Mayrand. 

Last May, an in-depth analysis  authored by the group Recycle ta Caisse confirmed that the

CDPQ’s investment increase between 2015 and 2016 totaled $16.7 billion.

Sébastien Collard, spokesperson of “ Recycle ta Caisse”, clarified the matter: “it is important to remember that due to the continued investments of the CDPQ  in fossil fuels between 2012 and 2015, it lost $7.2 billion. It worsened after it had declared starting its transition towards a green and carbon-free economy, yet it invested the money of quebecers to purchase shares in oil companies. With this exposure to the carbon-bubble, the leaders of the CDPQ must protect the wallets of its investors.”***

“The CDPQ is basically standing against a global divestment movement when it continues to finance coal, oil, tar sands and pipelines including TransCanada and Enbridge, instead of investing in renewable energies and eco-friendly transportation” pointed out Patrick Bonin, Cimate & Energy campaigner at Greenpeace Canada, adding “our CDPQ cannot be the piggy-bank of oil companies and pipelines which violate indigenous peoples’ rights and break down efforts to regulate climate change.”

The rally was organized by the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada, Recycle ta Caisse, the Climate Reality Project Canada, the Association for the Voice of Education in Quebec (AVEQ), Climate Justice Montreal (JCM), the Mobilisation Environnement Ahuntsic-Cartierville (MEAC), the Mouvement des Travailleuses et Travailleurs chrétiens (MTC) du Québec and the Conseil d'administration de MTC de Montréal.

The organisation committee ensured its message closed the loop as it collaborated with Monica Brinkman, an artist from Vaudreuil, to reuse the black balloons and create an art piece that will be showcased at the Centre for Sustainable Development this fall in Montreal.

It is also important to note two major breaking news announced yesterday respectively by Energy East and the CDPQ. First off, TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) sought to suspend the application for its Energy East pipeline for 30 days and may abandon the project, the company, weeks after Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) announced a tougher review process. Secondly, the president of the CDPQ, Michael Sabia, announced that he is also considering a moratorium on their investments in the fossil fuel industry, thus following the steps of the president of Desjardins, Guy Cormier.

The IPCC working sessions are running until September 19th, with means to elaborate and finalize the outline of the future special report which will be published in 2018.

Until then the organizers hope that CDPQ will officially review its position.

 

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Additional Quotes :

Audrey Dépault, National Manager, Climate Reality Project Canada: “The Climate Reality Project Canada is simply asking the CDPQ to retract its investments in this sector and to divest from fossil fuels. The scenarios which enable us to limit global warming to 2°C will not function if we keep funding and developing fossil fuel projects. As a leading institutional public and pension plans fund asset manager, the CDPQ must engage into coherent actions which respect climate science and public policies.” 

Melanie Busby, spokesperson of  la Mobilisation Environnement Ahuntsic-Cartierville (MEAC) : ​

“the financial sector cannot exclude itself from the reality of climate change by taking decisions that are only based on market profitability. Oil and gas companies systematically ignore the risks associated with climate change. Divesting from fossil fuels must be part of their forecasts.”

Several unions were part of the rally, including Conseil central métropolitain (CSN) and the Fédération des enseignantes et enseignants de cégep (FEQ-CSQ) were present:

Lucie Piché, president of the Fédération des enseignantes et enseignants de cégep (FEC-CSQ):" We are opposed to the investments by the CDPQ in the fossil fuels industry. As citizens and employees, we are concerned that we may not meet our 20% reduction rate of greenhouse gas emissions should such investments continue. We cannot accept seeing that our contributions to our retirement could worsen the future of our families and children.”

Dominique Daigneault, president of the Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain (CCMM-CSN): “the investments of the CDPQ are incompatible with what the Paris Agreement needs, economically unjustifiable and they simply destroy the future of humanity.”

Marc-Edouard Joubert, president of the Conseil régional FTQ Montréal métropolitain: “in link with their investments comes the training and the reintegration of the labour force which will be affected by the transition and the gradual walking away from fossil fuels. Such investments are dangerous and shameful.  We will remain dependant of fossil fuels if we do not immediately divest from such projects and discourage any further developments of fossil fuel plans on Canadian soil.”

Pierre Prudhomme, retired citizen and member of several NGOs including the ‘Mouvement des travailleuses et travailleurs chrétiens du Québec’ (MTC) et member of the ‘Conseil d'administration de Montréa’l: “as a retired citizen, I cannot accept that the money we saved up to ensure our security be used and invested in an industry that contributes to the insecurity of our lives, of our children and the future generations. Current extreme climate events are a proof that the CDPQ must urgently act upon this and divests from fossil fuels. It is only fair to just with our future generations.”

For more information, please contact:

Sébastien Collard, Recycle ta Caisse, 418-575-6147

Diego Creimer, David Suzuki Foundation, 514-999-6743

Patrick Bonin, Climate & Energy campaigner, Greenpeace Canada, 514-594-1221,

Loujain Kurdi, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Canada, 514-577-6657,

Social Media :

Facebook: Sortons la caisse du carbone;

Twitter: Sortons la caisse

Our petition :

(AN) https://www.change.org/p/caisse-de-dépôt-et-placement-du-québec-cdpq-divest-now

Notes to Editors :

To download the report: http://bit.ly/AnalyseCDPQEnergiesFossiles

* The IPCC is currently in its Sixth Assessment cycle. During this cycle, the Panel will produce three Special Reports, a Methodology Report on national greenhouse gas inventories and the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). The 43rd Session of the IPCC held in April 2016 agreed that the AR6 Synthesis Report would be finalized in 2022 in time for the first UNFCCC global stocktake when countries will review progress towards their goal of keeping global warming to well below 2 °C while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C. The three Working Group contributions to AR6 will be finalized in 2021.

**** According to information found in the annual report of 2016 published online in april 2017, the CDPQ increased its investments in the albertan company Enbridge from $627.6 to 930.6 million, thus a 48% increase. In the case of t TransCanada, the investments of the CDPQ jumped to 66% raising from $619 million to $1.02 billion. The scenario resembles the Pembina Pipeline Corporation situation (294 to 511 million, equal to +74%) and the american Spectra Energy (17 to 47 million, equal to+176%).

*** The value of investments in coal, oil and gas  has seen an increase of $4.5 billion and the proportion of that global wallet of the CDPQ grew from 4.9% to 6,2%, while the proportion of fossil fuel investments grew from 7% to 9,7%.

**** To this day,  749 institutions worldwide decided to divest from fossil fuels, alongside many pension plan funds which realize how risky these projects are financially speaking.



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