Speaking Remarks - Remarques officielles : David Lametti, MP

27 juin 2017
David Lametti, MP Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Co-op Congress 2017 Annual General Meeting



Ottawa, Ontario

June 22, 2017



Check Against Delivery

Mesdames et Messieurs, bonjour.

C’est un honneur de prendre la parole devant un groupe aussi distingué.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

It’s an honour for me to address this distinguished group.

I want to express my sincere thanks to the board of Co‑operatives and Mutuals Canada.

I also want to thank Doug Potentier [president of Cooperatives and Mutuals Canada] for inviting me here today.

And I want to welcome all of you to Ottawa.

I’m here today with a simple message: Our government recognizes the important role that co-operatives play in driving innovation.

I also want to highlight the role that our government plays in supporting co-operatives.

Fondamentalement, l’innovation se définit comme un processus visant à améliorer les choses au profit de tous.

Selon cette définition, les coopératives sont de réels foyers d’innovation au pays.

Et c’est particulièrement vrai quand il s’agit de soutenir les objectifs socioéconomiques du Canada.

At its most basic, innovation is about making things better in ways that benefit everyone.

By that definition, co-operatives have a strong track record of innovation in this country.

Particularly when it comes to supporting both social and economic objectives.

You have often been leaders in social and economic innovation by:

  • Promoting entrepreneurship among young people;
  • Encouraging a transition to a low-carbon economy;
  • And supporting economic development in Indigenous communities.

The cooperative model is particularly well suited to the Indigenous approach to community building.

That’s because of the cooperative’s focus on local participation.

Decision making by consensus.

And addressing community challenges in a holistic way.

Canada has an estimated 120 co-operatives run by Indigenous people for Indigenous people.

One of them is a large retail distribution network in the North, which has expanded into multiple business lines.

As a model of economic development, co-operatives have the potential improve the living standards of Indigenous communities across the country.

Your model of doing business also points to important lessons about how Canadians can innovate in today’s economy.

According to a 2014 study, Canada’s co-operatives innovate at a rate higher than traditional small and medium-sized businesses.

Par exemple, vous démontrez qu’en adoptant une gouvernance ouverte et démocratique, les entreprises en coopérative peuvent travailler au profit de tous.

Vous militez pour une diversité des perspectives et un consensus dans vos décisions.

Ce faisant, vous contribuez à créer des communautés plus fortes.

Ces valeurs d’inclusivité sont aussi prônées par notre gouvernement.

For example, you demonstrate through open and democratic governance that cooperative businesses can work for the benefit of everyone.

You seek a diversity of perspectives and make decisions by consensus.

And you create stronger communities as a result.

These inclusive values are shared by our government.

In the federal budget for 2017, we put forward an innovation and skills plan.

This plan will create well-paying, middle-class jobs.

And equip Canadians with the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The goal is to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to benefit from a growing economy. 

In fact, the Innovation and Skills Plan includes measures to ensure that

co-operatives continue to thrive. 

Let me give you one example.

In the department that falls under my portfolio, there are six Regional Development Agencies.

These agencies are responsible for economic development in every region of the country: the west, the north, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

Each of these agencies provides financial support to co-operatives through a range of programs and services.

Over the past decade, they have provided a total of 51 million dollars to your sector.

And in 2015, the Business Development Bank of Canada provided an additional 30 million dollars in financing to co-operatives.

An additional 17 million dollars has been provided to co-operatives through the Canada Small Business Financing Program.

Ladies and gentlemen:

Not far from here is the Y’s Owl Maclure Co-operative Centre.

It serves people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

It provides a recreation and leisure program for a community that would otherwise have few opportunities to exercise and socialize. 

And it runs the Owl Café, which provides training and employment opportunities for a population with substantial challenges in finding paid work.

This café also generates revenue for the centre.

This centre is an excellent example of how co-operatives balance the twin objectives of social and economic benefit for the community that it serves.

I am proud to serve a government that recognizes the value of this country’s co-operatives.

This spring, our government introduced a motion to support cooperatives that was unanimously adopted by all parliamentarians.

La motion M-100 vise à établir un cadre qui favorisera la reconnaissance et le développement des coopératives au Canada.

Je vous remercie de vos précieuses contributions qui ont éclairé les travaux menant à cette motion.

Je sais que je peux compter sur vous pour continuer de nous transmettre des avis alors que nous collaborerons pour mettre en œuvre ce cadre.

Motion M-100 aims to establish a framework that will promote the recognition and development of co-operatives in Canada.

I want to express my sincere thanks for your valuable contributions, which informed the work that led to this motion.

I know that I can count on you to provide feedback as we collaborate to make this framework a reality.

Thank you.