As a sector, we fully understand that we have to deal with our deficit. The government has some real, strong economic challenges. We understand that and we understand the job. But the reality, both in terms of the role of the cooperative secretariat and the program—the CDI—is that they were very instrumental in supporting the cooperative sector in Canada.
Obviously we are concerned by this. We are looking at other, new opportunities within the government. Within the sector, we are also looking at how we can restructure ourselves to perhaps provide some of the services that are lost. But again I want to reiterate that the fact that we do not have the funding for the cooperative development initiative will affect the emerging cooperatives.
We're not talking about the established co-ops; we are talking about the emerging cooperatives that are locally based, providing services and jobs and creating the services that are needed within not only rural communities but also urban communities. There's huge potential for cooperatives to develop services or programs for new Canadians and support social cohesion and immersion in the Canadian community, and that's a lost opportunity.
It's the same thing with first nations communities across the country. There are many examples of how the cooperative model has been used in developing and programming. That's also a lost opportunity.
The cooperative model established economic development across the country and will continue to do that, and will be continuing to do it world-wide. But we need to have a partnership with government, and that's what we're seeking.