Anglican Archbishop Lewis Garnsworthy of Toronto has responded to criticism of the Church's stand on South Africa. That criticism came from Canon Malcolm Hughes of Montreal who recently returned from South Africa. He publicly disagreed with the support the Church has given to the isolating of South Africa economically.
Archbishop Garnsworthy, who also spent considerable time in South Africa last year, declared, "I would like to ask him to specify what changes in the apartheid policy in South Africa are actually taking place. There are many responsible people who feel any changes being made are no more than cosmetic and many of us would like to be assured that this is not so."
"The Anglican Church of Canada has never said that multi-national corporations ought not to invest and give employment to South African people, white and black. What the Church has stressed is that when corporations from outside South Africa engage in business and industry in that country, they do so with a deep sense of Christian social responsibility in terms of wages, working conditions and general social attitudes. This also means a social responsibility towards the evil of apartheid. Unless Mr. Hughes can substantiate some very real changes in the whole South Africa policy, as expressed racially, there are many of us who will remain in doubt as to the validity of what is really happening."
Hughes, who is the editor of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal's newspaper, is a Director of the Canadian-South Africa Society. His trip was partially funded by a study grant from the South African Foundation, which the Primate of the Anglican Church, Archbishop E.W. Scott says, "represents a particular point of view on South Africa -- one which stems from those in positions of privilege."
The Anglican Church of Canada's highest parliament, General Synod has repeatedly asked that there be no further investments in South Africa by Canadian banks, businesses and multi-national corporations in an effort to pressure its Government to discontinue the policy of apartheid and to give black South Africans equality and the vote.
As recently as last May 5th the Anglican Church was represented in a major presentation made to External Affairs Minister Mark McGuigan by the Task Force on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility.
Although Canon Hughes stated that black leaders to whom he spoke were supportive of the South African Government's present pace of change and want investments, the Rev. Murray MacInnes, African specialist on the National Staff of the Church, points out that he did not mention, however, that to support disinvestment publicly is treason for a South African. In spite of this, the Church of the Province of South Africa, in a statement issued in June, 1980, condemned, "acceptance of or acquiescence in the evil and injustice inherent in Apartheid. This system cannot be amended. It must be eradicated." The statement continued, "The Church must seek to demonstrate the necessity for the redistribution of the power and wealth which accumulates in the centre of the economy of the country at the expense of the dispossessed and deprived who live on the peripheries."
Archbishop Andrew Hutchison spoke at the 20th annual neighbourhood interfaith dinner and assured the Jewish community that the Anglican Church of Canada has no plans for disinvestment from companies with ties to Israel.
Some denominations are reviewing their investment policies with companies that do business with Israel. Cynthia Patterson clarified that the Anglican Peace and Justice Network had not called for divestment.
"The church will appoint a task force for social and ecological investment -- including possibly, selling its existing investments in some companies. On July 12 , General Synod passed, by large majorities, two resolutions related to responsible investing. Resolution A171 calls on the church to form a task force 'as soon as possible' to review its investment policies; address governance practices of companies and sectors in which it invests; and develop 'guidelines for constructive dialogue, and where necessary divestment, leading towards a low carbon economy". "The other resolution, A170 calls on General Synod to sign the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing and to 'make full use of' its affiliate membership of the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), while encouraging dioceses to become affiliate members also". "'We're in very different places across the country', said Dean Iain Luke, of the diocese of Athabasca. 'We have different stakes in these issues, so it's important that all those voices be heard'." "In some cases, action against companies deemed to be polluting ends up hurting its employees the most", said Jeremy Munn, a lay member from the diocese of Athabasca, and resident of Fort McMurray, Alberta. "Danielle McKenzie, a lay member also from Athabasca, said that although she favoured a review of the church's investments, she hoped any decisions would carefully take into account their impacts on the people who work in the fossil fuel and other industries".
That the Council of General Synod commend the following to the Eco-Justice Committee for action, implementation, and report back to the Council at its May 2006 meeting:
i) Eco-Justice request KAIROS to research the activities of companies believed to be contributing to ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine, as well as companies contributing to ongoing peace and economic stability in the region;
ii) That, in light of KAIROS findings, Eco-Justice, with the FMD [Financial Management and Development] Investment Sub-committee, continue to explore a range of socially responsible investment strategies, including corporate engagement and positive investment or divestment;
iii) That suggested strategies be recommended to the Council of General Synod, the Pensions Committee, the Board of PWRDF, and the Directors of the Anglican Foundation, for consideration and any appropriate action. CARRIED #22-11-05
"I was dismayed by the article 'Review of investment policies urged' (May 2016, p. 8). I disagree with Archdeacon Terry Leer when he states, 'An Anglican oil worker who reads reports of divestment actions taken in other dioceses, or other parts of the Anglican church, understands that he is being shamed and rejected'. .... We need a future for everyone, where humans live in an integrated manner with the Earth. We all need to stand together to transition to clean energy, all of us, including those currently working in polluting fossil fuel industries. No one is being shamed or blamed, but it is imperative and high time that we divest from fossil fuels".
"While I abhor the increase in anti-Semitic incidents occurring worldwide ('The rising tide of anti-Semitism', Oct. 2014, p. 2), I also abhor what the state of Israel is doing to the Palestinian people. Anti-Zionism does not necessarily mean anti-semitism". "We must be allowed to discuss and denounce these actions without the fear of being labelled anti-Semitic". "Archbishop Desmond Tutu recently said: 'The state of Israel is behaving as if there is no tomorrow. Its people will not live the peaceful and secure lives they crave -- and are entitled to -- as long as their leaders perpetuate conditions that sustain the conflict'". "I call upon the Anglican Church of Canada to follow the example of the U.S. Presbyterian Church which divested its pension fund -- about $21 million -- from businesses participating in illegal Israeli settlements. Freedom for the Palestinian people is a righteous cause. In the end, it is not only Palestinians who will be freed, but Israelis too".