Mr. Speaker, the United Nations has recognized the global importance of the co-operative business model by declaring 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives with the theme, “Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World”.
Co-ops are guided by voluntary and democratic membership, concern for community, and decision-making by consensus and participation in the local economy.
As a government, we especially appreciate the value that co-operatives provide to rural and remote communities in creating jobs and providing essential services.
There are more than 9,000 co-ops in Canada, many of them owned and controlled by first nations, Métis and Inuit people.
I would ask the membership of the House to please join me as we celebrate the International Year of Co-operatives.