By Patrick Brogan
This week, Shell sold its shares, 45%, in the Corrib gas field to Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). The CPPIB states that; “We have a profound responsibility: to invest the assets belonging to 20 million Canadians to help ensure the sustainability of the Canada Pension Plan.”
Like most of these pension plans, they invest on behave of the people of that country and therefore are a public entity, maybe not in an official capacity, but it is public’s money used. Questions emerged a few years back in the Canadian media about how the CPPIB reports its financial details. This started when the Fraser Institute released a report called Accounting for the True Cost of the Canada Pension Plan. In this, they said the CPPIB was not reporting their finances correctly and that they understated their costs by up to two thirds. It was later pointed out by some journalists this cost can be found on the internet, but why didn’t they report on all their costs?
More troubling than their issues with accountancy is their support for fracking, particularly against the backdrop of protests by the communities in the areas affected. There is an example of this in Colorado. Indeed, many Canadians are concerned about the CPPIB investing billions in fossil fuels and how much this will affect Canada’s commitment to climate change.
The obvious question arises; if this company are investing in fracking, will they lobby political parties here to bring in legislation that will allow fracking in Ireland? A private members’ bill was brought forward to ban fracking in Ireland, but many would love to open up this avenue here and with Trudeau and others pushing for CETA, which supports fracking, this is still a very real possibility.
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