Churches critical of Talisman

A group of Canadian church leaders is calling on Canada and the international community to withdraw all investment from Sudan.

The group has just returned from the strife-torn African country where it says oil production is helping to support a brutal military regime. The group is particularly critical of Calgary-based Talisman Energy, which is one of the partners of a pipeline project in Sudan.

Very Rev. Bill Phipps, former moderator of the United Church of Canada and a Calgarian, says Talisman and all other companies should withdraw until the civil war ends.

"Oil and its production is a key thing in the fuelling of the war, so therefore it is a practical step," he says. "Without the oil revenues, the increased fuelling of the war would dry up more quickly."

Phipps adds that a moratorium on oil production is the only right and reasonable thing to do.

"In an era of globalization where we seem to be able to develop complicated rules for economic exploitation and development, surely to God we have the brains to figure out how to declare a moratorium on oil production in order to save lives," he says.

Talisman reported earnings of $906-million in 2000. The company says it is responsible for building churches and schools in Sudan and its presence in the country benefits the Sudanese people.