Canadian Bishops Ask Government Not to Invest in Talisman Energy

Calgary Firm Indirectly Helps to Prolong Sudanese War, They Said

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OTTAWA, APRIL 12, 2002 ( The Canadian Catholic bishops asked the government to stop investing Canada Pension Plan funds in Talisman Energy, an oil company whose activity in Sudan, they believe, helps prolong the war.

In a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Bill Graham, Auxiliary Bishop Jean Gagnon of Quebec, chairman of the bishops´ Commission for Social Affairs, recalls a Nov. 21 meeting attended by John Manley, his predecessor in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Manley had asked Bishop Jacques Berthelet, president of the Canadian episcopal conference, to help find a solution to «Sudan´s horrific civil strife.»

Bishop Donald Theriault, a member of the Social Affairs Commission, represented the conference on a mission to Sudan last year.

«We have become convinced that the exploitation of Sudan´s oil resources, with the direct partnership of Canadian companies like Talisman Energy Inc. with the Khartoum regime, has become a contributing factor to the continuance of war in the Sudan,» Bishop Gagnon explained.

«To that end, we believe that it would be a crucially important, not to mention highly symbolic, step for the federal government to redirect its Canada Pension Plan investment in Talisman,» the bishop added. He added that «our conference has already done this with its own investment portfolio some time ago.»

Calgary-based Talisman, one of Canada´s biggest oil companies, has a 25% stake in Sudan´s only major oil producing project, which pumps out more than 200,000 barrels of oil a day, Reuters reported March 25. Talisman has denied any wrongdoing in Sudan´s 18-year civil war.

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