Next week is Co-op Week in Canada. As the Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives, I have spent the last several months meeting with representatives from different associations, learning about best practices and listening to the concerns of cooperatives across the country. And the more I visit these co-operatives, talk with those involved, and witness the work that they are doing, the more it is clear that this sector has the unique ability to create jobs and contribute to regional economies, particularly those in rural Canada, where private businesses may not necessarily see the need or the opportunities.
This is nowhere more clear that at the International Conference on Co-operative Economics and the 2012 International Summit of Co-operatives in Quebec City, in which I have the pleasure to be participating this week. The energy of the attendees is obvious in the debates and discussions that are taking place. Both conferences have brought together the world’s major co-operatives and leading economic thinkers from around the world. So far, we have discussed at length the fact that governments can and must do more to encourage the co-operative sector. In fact, one topic that has come up in most of my discussions with delegates is the report of the House of Commons Special Committee on Co-operatives. People are anxiously awaiting a response from this Conservative government.
While I am in Quebec City, I will also be participating in the Annual General Meeting of the Health Care Co-operatives Federation of Canada this Friday. There are interesting things happening in the area of Health co-operatives and I look forward to hearing more about this burgeoning sub-sector.
This is just part of the ongoing dialogue that the Liberal Party is having on how we can grow a strong and vibrant economy, create sustainable jobs and ensure shared prosperity in Canada. We appreciate the important contribution of co-operatives to the development of our communities and our country, and will continue to work in a positive manner with the co-operative community, other political parties and Canada’s provincial and territorial partners to strengthen this vital economic driver.
Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives