OTTAWA – During special committee meetings held in Ottawa this week, New Democrats are taking a stand in support of cooperatives. MPs have heard troubling testimony about the impact Conservative cuts will have on co-ops, a sector which contributes to our economy and to local communities.
“Conservatives are rushing through these hearings and trying to cobble together a report without adequately considering the evidence,” said Hélène LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard), the NDP’s Industry critic. “Conservatives simply ignore any evidence that indicates reckless cuts will kill jobs and hurt rural communities across the country.”
The Conservative government recently cut the Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI) and slashed the Rural and Co-operatives Secretariat from 100 employees to just 15.
While witnesses from the co-op sector came and expressed serious concerns about the impact of these radical cuts on the industry, Gerry Ritz, the minister responsible, flatly refused to appear before the committee.
This October, New Democrats will be attending the International Summit on Cooperatives in Quebec City, which Conservatives are refusing to attend.
“The cooperative sector continues to make significant contributions to both our economy and local communities,” added NDP Agriculture critic, Malcolm Allen (Welland). “It only makes sense for this parliamentary committee to travel to the upcoming international summit in order to learn more about this evolving industry.”