Mr. Speaker, during the hard days of the depression in Cape Breton, Reverend Moses Coady started the co-op movement. This effort helped rural communities across the Maritimes and improved their economic and social circumstances.
The influence of the movement of Moses led spread across Canada and around the world. Today, these co-operatives are celebrating 75 years of success. The Coady International Institute at St. FX University is teaching this to many around the world.
I was a proud member of Bras d'Or Farmers Co-op and the United Farmers Co-op. In Cape Breton, there are now 14 co-ops along with 9,000 across Canada.
Recently, the Conservative government decided to cut this $4 million co-operative development program. Ironically, 2012 was also the United Nations international year of cooperatives.
These co-operatives provide stable employment for hundreds of families. At a time when rural Canada is struggling, the co-operative movement should be given due recognition and deserves much more support from the government.