The Alberta Investment Management Corporation or AIMCo owns more than $200 million in shares in companies which are profiting from and participating in the occupation and illegal settlement of Palestine, according to activists with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
AIMCo is the fund manager by law for every pension fund in Alberta as well as the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund, the investment fund that was started in the ‘70s to collect and reinvest oil and gas royalties. The $200-million figure counts only the investments we know about in AIMCo’s Security and Exchanges Commission disclosure, since AIMCo doesn’t disclose details on their real estate holdings or private equity deals.
BDS is a non-violent Palestinian-led resistance movement that uses economic pressure to push back against the Israeli occupation
“The BDS campaign is quite simple in its philosophy. It says that the Israeli state has enjoyed impunity from the international community for quite some time and that impunity encourages it to do more of the same, apartheid, war crimes, illegal occupation and so on,” said Muhannad Ayyash, a sociology professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, explained to the Progress Report.
“The BDS campaign puts pressure on [Israel] to change and part of BDS is divestment. All funds should divest, and each community, including Alberta, needs to play their role. Albertans should demand divestment if they want to see justice in Palestine,” says Ayyash.
AIMCO’s largest investment in a BDS-targeted company is its $141 million of holdings in Microsoft, which has close ties to the Israeli military, the Israeli government, the Israeli police and prison service, and provides services to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
A Palestinian solidarity march held in Calgary on Nov. 5. Photo by Albert Woo
Other notable AIMCo entanglements in the occupation include $650,000 invested in Palantir, an American spy-tech company whose surveillance technology is used in the occupation; $2.8 million and $2.6 million respectively in the arms manufacturers Boeing and General Electric, which supply munitions and military technology; and $670,000 in the Primo Water Corporation, which is presently engaged in the extraction of water from the occupied Golan Heights.
Every Albertan is likely embroiled in these companies via the Heritage Fund. And every teacher, bus driver, nurse and provincial and municipal worker is involved as well—the Public Service Pension Plan and Local Authorities Pension Plan are also managed by AIMCo.
“I encourage Albertans to demand that divestment takes place. People generally care about justice and human rights and I think people should be more cognizant of where their investments are going and what they’re doing and should be demanding that their money stop going to companies that are participating in the illegal occupation and genocide in Palestine,” said Ayyash.
A spokesperson for the Edmonton chapter of Independent Jewish Voices Canada, a grassroots organization that advocates for peace and justice for all in Israel and Palestine, echoed Ayyash’s call for Albertans to demand that AIMCo divest from these companies.
“AIMCo like any other fund manager should not be invested in companies that are on the BDS list and this is the kind of pressure that helped end apartheid in South Africa and that is the kind of pressure that will help to end apartheid and occupation in historical Palestine.”
“Palestinians have been struggling for decades against Israeli occupation, including non-violent methods like BDS. Because the Canadian government continues to support Israel financially and with weapons sales these non-violent forms of resistance are extremely important,” said IJV Edmonton.
Today, Nov. 30 2023, between 6-8 pm the standing committee meeting on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund will be having its annual question and answer session after a short presentation from officials with AIMCo and Alberta Treasury. If you’d like to ask them any questions about any of these investments you can ask in person at the meeting which is open to the public on the 2nd floor of the Queen Elizabeth II Building at 9820 – 107 Street, Edmonton.
You can also ask via Facebook and Twitter using the #abheritagefund hashtag, by email to [email protected] or by phone - 1.888.892.3255 code 764511, which will only be active during the meeting.