In mid-December, the diocese of Quebec completed a four-year process of divestment from fossil fuels and resource extraction, making it the first diocese in the Anglican Church of Canada to fully divest from both mining and fossil fuels.
In a report to the synod of the diocese of Quebec in November, Drainville noted that since the Church Society of the Diocese of Quebec passed a motion to divest from resource extraction holdings at its annual general meeting four years ago, $525,000 has been divested from gold and copper mining operations.
Following a subsequent motion in 2014 calling on the investment committee to get out of oil and gas, $1.72 million has been divested from fossil fuels.
“The church has a responsibility to respond to the needs of the world,” Drainville said in an interview with the Anglican Journal. “When we respond to those needs, we respond with all our resources, whether they be people, buildings or money…for us to hold stocks in organizations that we know are involved in violence in the developing world, and not adhering to good pollution standards and good employment standards, raises questions.”
As Drainville explained, the diocese of Quebec is unusual because it is governed by both a synod and a church society, the latter being responsible for most of the diocese’s investment activities. It is also one of the only dioceses in Canada that, through legislative documents going back to the colonial period, has the power to create its own instruments of investment.
Drainville said this arrangement has given the church society’s investment committee greater flexibility, and has been a boon to its divestment efforts even as it has allowed the diocese to grow its investment revenues.
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