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iPolitics: Does Canadians’ high regard for co-ops present an opportunity for government?

May 30, 2012

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In the past three years, we have witnessed significant unrest by large numbers of citizens unhappy with the state of the financial system and capitalism in general.

Last year, hundreds of Canadians “occupied” parks across the country calling for changes to our financial system and government policy.

For over 100 days, students and other activists in Quebec have been protesting in the streets of Quebec over the provincial government’s decision to raise tuition fees at its colleges and universities.

In Greece, Britain, and other European countries, citizens have protested their government’s austerity reforms meant to reign in public debt and overspending.

While 2012 may turn out to be the year of civil unrest in parts of Canada and around the world, it also happens to be the International Year of Co-operatives. And the two – civil unrest of established economic models and the co-operative business model – are conveniently linked.

According to the Canadian Co-operative Association, a co-operative “is an organization owned by the members who use its services or are employed there.”

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