Of course the experience with recycling varies from coast to coast to coast in terms of the programs and availabilities and the costs and the differences between single-family dwellings and apartment buildings, for instance, many of which were built before recycling programs came into being, and they recycle at much lower rates.
I want to spend all my time with Mountain Equipment Co-op. I've been a member now for almost 17 years. I've still got the first backpack I bought from MEC, which I still use regularly, although this one's a little better for committee business.
I wanted to touch on Ms. Gallant's comments. It's actually very easy to find on the website if you go to the home page and go to “Sustainability”, and then from there you have a link to “Partnerships and Affiliations”, where all the national and regional partnerships are listed, as well as the “1% for the Planet”. There's an incredible amount of information on MEC's website, things that you would never see on a traditional business website in terms of the governance of the organization, in terms of how you stack up versus other organizations and companies.
I was very happy to see you come today and say you're doing okay and you don't need any help, but that where the help is needed is with the start-ups, with structural and financial supports. Yes, of course, governments have to make decisions, and this government, unfortunately, in our opinion has made decisions to provide large corporate tax cuts with absolutely no incentives towards job creation, but they can't find a few million dollars to help start-ups and cooperatives come together to actually build communities. We've been hearing time and time again from people that this is what co-ops are. They are in the community, they're for the community, they help grow the community, and they're about developing the economies of those local areas.
There's a strange phenomenon that often exists with MEC. For instance, in Toronto, when the store first located on Front Street, every outdoor outfitter in Toronto moved in next door. It then moved to Spadina and King and the same thing happened, where you kind of create a microclimate of everything to do with outdoors.
I noticed in reading this document that it actually reminded me of the magazines we used to get, which of course used to contain your members' ballots as well as information about board of directors. To be better for the environment, of course, that's where the e-mail came in instead. So that was a move MEC made so it would have less of an impact on the environment, and congratulations on that.
One of the statements made under “Returns and Redemptions” was that “member capital is MEC's main source of funding for future growth, given its limited access to other sources of funding due to its co-operative structure”. That statement sounds as if perhaps you had some problems seeking financing in the past. Do those kinds of structural challenges still exist, or does MEC prefer to self-fund everything?