Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to recognize the importance of co-operatives in Canada's social and economic fabric. October 15 to 21 is Co-op Week.
Co-operatives are businesses owned and created by their members, individuals who want to join forces to meet their common needs. Canada has over 9,000 co-operatives run by some 70,000 volunteers and 150,000 employees.
The new Government of Canada has decided to make a one time investment of $1 million within the framework of the Co-operative Development Initiative to help individuals, groups and communities form co-operatives in order to seize opportunities that come up in the biofuel sector and other value added industry sectors.
The biofuel industry has the potential to stimulate rural economies by creating jobs and by stimulating economic development. It goes without saying that the co-operative model is the tool of choice to achieve this potential.
The new Government of Canada is pleased with its partnership with the co-operative sector and hopes it will continue to benefit all Canadians.