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Meet Senator

Pana Merchant

The Hon. Pana  Merchant, B.A. Appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator Pana Merchant represents the province of Saskatchewan and the Senatorial Division of Saskatchewan. She has served in the Senate of Canada since December 12, 2002.

Statements & Hansard

International Year of Cooperatives

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Statement made on 01 May 2012 by Senator Catherine Callbeck

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck:

Honourable senators, 2012 has been declared the International Year of Cooperatives. According to the United Nations, this commemorative year is intended to raise public awareness of the invaluable contributions of cooperative enterprises to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The year will also highlight the strengths of the cooperative business: They are owned and controlled by their members, and they have a distinct commitment to both economic development and social justice.

It is estimated that as many as 1 billion people are involved in the cooperative movement. The self-help principles on which the cooperative movement is based make an enormous contribution to the needs of the people of developing countries.

Here at home, cooperatives exist in virtually every sector of the Canadian economy. One can be born in a health care cooperative and be buried by a funeral co-op. In between, one can purchase a wide range of goods and services from groceries to insurance, find employment in a workers' co-op, live in a housing co-op, or engage in a broad range of economic, cultural and social activities carried out by cooperatives.

Cooperatives and credit unions have a huge impact on communities right across Canada. There are currently over 9,000 cooperatives and credit unions in this country, and 18 million Canadians are members of at least one of them. Some 70,000 people volunteer their time to become members of the boards of co-ops and credit unions. Co-ops and credit unions have combined assets of approximately $252 billion, and they employ over 155,000 people. For example, the Desjardins movement in Quebec is the largest employer in the whole province.

Honourable senators, the International Year of Cooperatives provides a great opportunity to recognize the tremendous contributions that cooperatives make to the economic and social well-being of the people of the world. These community-based organizations care not only about the financial health of their businesses but also about the quality of life and standard of living of the people in the communities they serve. In so doing, they make a vital contribution to the health of our economy and the well-being of our fellow Canadians.

I ask you to join with me to pay tribute to the outstanding contributions made by cooperatives and credit unions and to wish them continued success in the future.

Recent Statements from Liberal Senators

First Nations Control of First Nations Education Bill

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Lillian Eva Dyck | Honourable senators, I would like to say a few words about this motion. I am definitely in support of it. The idea of a First Nations education act is critically important to the welfare of First Nations across Canada, and especially to our young people.

Income Inequality

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette | What does the government intend to do to learn from the financial crisis, reduce wealth inequality, and follow the lead of other jurisdictions that have started to rein in compensation that has nothing to do with the productivity of the people who earn the average salary of a Canadian in half a day?

Broadcast of Senate Proceedings

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Grant Mitchelll | What is the leader's personal opinion about televising the Senate?

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Art Eggleton | That was supported unanimously in the Senate, so I take it, senator, that you would be willing to now advance this idea to the government.

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator James Cowan | My question is: Will this government put National Pharmacare on the agenda?
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