OTTAWA— The Honourable Mauril Bélanger, M.P. for Ottawa—Vanier and Liberal Advocate for Cooperatives, finds it unfortunate that the Conservatives seem determined to stick with a unnecessary deadline of mid-September for tabling the report of the Special Committee on Cooperatives. Discussions he had during the Annual General Meetings of two Canadian co-operative associations (the Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité (CCCM) and the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA)) in Montreal from June 27 to 29 confirm that he is not alone in thinking that way.
The Liberal Advocate for Cooperatives had this to say regarding the committee’s deadline:
“I along with many people that I met during the Annual General Meetings of two Canadian co-operative associations believe it is unfortunate that the Committee plans to submit its report before the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives takes place in Quebec City in early October. This makes no sense. Furthermore, six studies were commissioned leading up to the Summit in order to provide a clear picture of the co-operative movement in Canada and around the world. These studies will be completed and published in October 2012. Would it not be useful for the Committee members to consult these studies? They could play a very important role in the Committee’s deliberations and report writing. I fail to understand why the government, through its majority on the Committee, wishes to rush the Committee’s work when the House of Commons voted unanimously in favour of its creation. I am not against having hearings during the summer but I fail to understand the urgency of a report as soon as the House of Commons resumes sitting in September.”
Futhermore, Mr. Bélanger learned that leading organizations such as the Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité and the Canadian Co-operative Association have all written to the Chair or the Clerk of the committee expressing support for the committee but at the same time expressing unease with the deadline imposed on the committee. These letters are attached.
Mr. Bélanger adds that the Committee, as per the motion approved unanimously in the House of Commons on May 30, 2012, is all about strengthening Canada’s cooperatives in this International Year of Cooperatives.
“Let us therefore give ourselves the time to get and analyse as much information as possible before concluding our work by the end of November as approved by the House instead of doing everything in July and August, a time when many Canadians are enjoying summer,” concluded Mr. Bélanger.