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."