Happy Co-op Week! Update from the Honourable Mauril Bélanger, MP for Ottawa–Vanier Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives

Dear Friends,

 I have just returned from attending the Second International Summit of Co-operatives, held in Québec City from October 6-9. It was an exciting meeting designed, as many of you know, to identify the main challenges facing cooperative enterprises and mutuals, as well as to seek solutions, to encourage co-operative development and performance , and to promote the benefits of the cooperative business model on the world stage.  I learned a great deal from a number of impressive leaders in the co-operative sector.

One idea that I heard mentioned several times at the Summit was the need for a national co-operative development strategy. A National Strategy on Co-operatives might well help federal and provincial governments provide consistent legal frameworks across the country, promote public awareness of the benefits and potential of co-operatives and mutuals, offer support for further expansion of the sector and facilitate on-going capital investment. The idea certainly holds great promise, and I hope I will have an opportunity to explore it further, perhaps with the collaboration of my colleagues in Parliament’s all-party caucus on co-operatives.

Upon my return from the Summit, I addressed the House of Commons about the conference and about Co-op Week, which is celebrated this year from October 13th to 19th. Indeed, on Friday, October 10th, I underlined the importance of the co-operative model in Canada’s economy and society, and urged fellow Members of Parliament to celebrate the occasion by visiting at least one co-operative in each of their ridings.

I remain committed to continuing the fight to ensure that co-operatives are better capitalized and that the housing subsidy agreements with housing co-operatives are renewed. As most of you will know by now, I am a firm believer in the value of the co-operative model and in the potential of co-operatives to grow and develop—as long as the playing field is level. In my role as the Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives, I am working to garner support for this important sector and I remain committed to the goal of promoting the co-operative model in order to mitigate the detrimental effects of growing economic disparity.

Co-op Week is celebrated throughout Canada. This is an opportunity for Canadian co-operative and credit union members “to celebrate the fact that they have collectively helped to build this country and to recognize their continuing contributions at home and abroad.” By continuing to work together for the common good, we will sustain and grow the co-operative sector.

Happy Co-op Week!


Honourable Mauril Bélanger, MP for Ottawa–Vanier Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives


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