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Ontario and N.B. teachers' pension plans hold $4 million in shares in world's largest weapons manufacturer

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As of May 21, 2020, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan owned 6,283 shares in Lockheed Martin valued at US$2.13 million.

This is not new.

According to Security and Exchange Commission information, the OTPP has owned shares in Lockheed Martin dating back to at least 2011.

Lockheed Martin is the world's biggest arms manufacturer. In 2017, the company's arms sales totalled US44.9 billion and it recorded a profit of US$2 billion.

Its operations are not without controversy.

On August 9, 2018, a laser-guided bomb manufactured by Lockheed Martin was dropped on a school bus in Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition warplane that killed 40 school children ages six to 11. Another 56 children were wounded in that attack.

Corporate Knights has commented: "Some of the world's largest investors who do invest in other major weapons companies -- such as the US$1 trillion Norwegian Sovereign Fund and US$564 billion Dutch pension APG -- will not touch Lockheed Martin with a ten-foot pole, because of its one-third interest in the company that runs the U.K. government’s nuclear weapons program."

Lockheed Martin forms part of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) consortium that is responsible for the design, manufacture and support of warheads for the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons.

It is also notable that as of July 2019, Vestcor Investment Management Corporation, jointly owned by the New Brunswick Teachers' Pension Plan and the New Brunswick Public Service Pension Plan, held US$1.87 million in shares in Lockheed Martin.

On July 31 of this year, Lockheed Martin submitted its bid for a $19-billion contract to the Canadian government to manufacture 88 warplanes for the Royal Canadian Air Force. It is believed that its F-35 is favoured to win this competition.

In its public pitch for this contract, Lockheed Martin noted: "The F-35 has an operational mission radius greater than 700 nautical miles in low observable configurations and internal fuel capacity of nearly 19,000 pounds. When the mission doesn't require low observability, the F-35 can carry more than 18,000 pounds of ordnance."

Lockheed Martin has also highlighted: "Approximately 50,000 jobs will be created in Canada through the selection of the F-35." Notably though, research by the Costs of War Project found that while $1 million spent on "defence" creates 6.9 direct and indirect jobs, the same amount invested in elementary and secondary education 19.2 jobs.

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan pays pensions and invests plan assets on behalf of 329,000 working and retired teachers. The New Brunswick plan serves 19,167 current and retired teachers. Together, they could be an important voice and help to teach peacebuilding in these turbulent times.

Brent Patterson is the executive director of Peace Brigades International-Canada. This article originally appeared on the PBI-Canada website. Follow them at @CBrentPatterson @PBIcanada

Image: U.S. Airforce

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