CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – Jan. 13, 2012 – Firmly convinced that the co-operative movement represents one of the strongest forces in economic and community development in the world, well over 100 co-operators from all over the province gathered in Charlottetown Thursday to help kick off and celebrate International Year of Co-operatives on PEI.
The PEI Co-operative Council (PEICC) and its francophone counterpart, Le Conseil de développement coopératif de l’Î-P.-É. (CDC), hosted this launching ceremony and reception to announce they will organize a whole slew of events throughout the year to not only celebrate past and current accomplishments but also to help educate the younger generation about the values of the movement. They also want to continue to actively promote the co-operative model as a choice option in economic and community development.
The PEICC will organize events such as a co-operative trade show, a charity golf tournament, workshops, seminars and theatrical presentations. A documentary video will also be produced.
The CDC will also stage a play on the history of the movement, host a mobile radio station and produce radio shows several times during the year, organize a youth forum, publish a co-operative promotion column in the French newspaper La Voix Acadienne, and prepare a host of event for Co-op Week.
During the launching ceremonies, the two partnering organizations, represented by PEICC chair Maureen Gallant and CDC chair Angèle Arsenault, signed an official proclamation making 2012 the International Year of Co-ops on PEI.
Also signing were Tourism and Culture Minister Robert Henderson and Philip Brown, on behalf of National Revenue Minister Gail Shea. Both shared their perspective on the value of the co-operative moment and spoke of specific co-operatives that have been extremely successful.
BUILDING A BETTER WORLD
“The slogan for the International Year of Co-operatives says it all: Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World. How can it not? When you have a group of people working together for the same cause, great things can happen,” said Gallant.
Arsenault said it is thanks to the co-op movement that many rural communities were developed and continue to exist today. “But the movement will also remain alive and strong for as long as people support it. The very survival of our communities therefore depends on our support of our co-operatives.”
She therefore issued a challenge to all Island co-operators to prove that they really believe in the movement by supporting their co-operatives so that they could all have their best year ever.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
The co-op movement is all about strength in numbers. More than 900 Islanders, employed by 114 co-operatives having assets and sales of more than $700 million, are working to meet the needs of approximately 87,500 members. Of those numbers, the CDC represents 18 francophone co-ops that have 8,500 members, more than 250 employees and assets of over $80 million.
Nationally, there are 9,300 co-operatives with 17 million members that provide employment to more than 175,000 employees and that have sales and assets worth $225 billion.
The two PEI groups were not the only ones hosting events on Thursday. In fact, ceremonies were staged in every Canadian province and territory to launch the year.
The General Assembly of the United Nations, on Dec. 18, 2009, proclaimed 2012 to be the International Year of Co-operatives and called upon its member nations and other stakeholders to promote the development of co-operatives as commercial and social enterprises capable of contributing to sustainable development, the elimination of poverty and the creation of ways for people to earn a living in various economic sectors, in rural and urban areas, and to promote the creation of co-operatives in new and emerging sectors.
CUTLINE: Signing the official proclamation making 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives on PEI Thursday are, from left, Tourism and Culture Minister Robert Henderson, Angèle Arsenault, chair of Le Conseil de développement coopératif de l’Î.-P.-É., Maureen Gallant, chair of the PEI Co-operative Council, and Philip Brown, representing National Revenue Minister Gail Shea.
For more information:
PEI Co-operative Council
Co-op development officer
RDÉE PEI/Conseil de développement coopératif