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Helesia Luke, CCEC Board Member says, "A month ago I started a new job and with it embarked on a learning curve that has been a real eye opener. "  As the new Green Jobs BC Co-ordinator, my first observation is that there is no lack of global leadership on the topic. Labour, environmental and financial leaders are rallying for change and scalable solutions that provide good jobs and reduce carbon emissions. As recently as last week, former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney noted the transition to a green economy is a trillion dollar opportunity for businesses and national economies

In the absence of policy however, citizens in Canada are taking matters into their own hands with grassroots initiatives like Iron and Earth. [ttp://www.ironandearth.org/] I&E is a worker-led group formed by unemployed oil sands workers who recently signed an MOU to build six offshore wind farms in Atlantic Canada.

A new study from Berkeley  is reporting that 500,000 people are now employed in California’s renewable energy sector. The study credits state policy for the remarkable growth in good jobs that lower carbon emissions.  

Imagine what could be accomplished in Canada with effective policies and investment in a green economy. The Green Jobs BC Conference is November 24th and 25th. Come and join the discussion about how BC can transition to green and just economy.

Green Jobs BC is an alliance of labour and environmental groups with a shared vision of an inclusive, sustainable economy that provides good jobs, are socially just, protects the environment and reduces carbon emissions. 

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Credit unions are consumer owned enterprises that represent a fundamental challenge to conventional capital corporations.  Credit unions do not exist to generate profits, but to provide services to member-shareholders.  Recent published documents raise some interesting questions about the future of our credit unions.  

Consolidation and amalgamation over the last thirty years has drastically reduced the number of credit unions in BC (and elsewhere).  In the mid-eighties there was 120, now there are 43.  And the two largest credit unions comprise @50% of the deposits and almost 50% of the memberships in BC. Two papers submitted to the provincial government review of credit union legislation were made public online and provide pointed criticism of the erosion of member democracy in large credit unions. Submissions are public and the papers from Bruce Bachelor and Mark Latham both argue for enhanced democratic practices. Also, governancewatch.ca  provides an excellent overview of difficulties at Coast Capital Credit Union. 

But beyond that, credit union members also own "second tier" enterprises, or are the beneficial owners of these; Central 1, Co-operators Insurance, CUMIS Insurance, etc.  Since credit unions control these businesses, consumer owners rarely consider their stake in them.  But a recent paper from Central 1 provides a great overview, and a discussion of a 'restructuring' of these entities - Future State. But this paper fails to recognize consumer ownership as the key 'uniqueness' of our credit unions.

Over time the radical idea of consumer control has been down played.  More emphasis has been placed upon marketing smarts and service. Indeed, co-operative democratic governance has been under-represented and eroded.  Members are no longer encouraged to take active interest in the affairs of the credit union, unless there is a merger proposal. This is unfortunate, as the price of democracy is vigilance.  Our credit unions not only manage our savings, but also control substantial accrued 'wealth'; retained earnings is an asset held/owned in common by all members. This is community property.  

Our organizations do not 'belong' to the managers and directors. When there are big choices to make members should be consulted. Members must not only think about their own accounts and transactions, we all have a stake in the community organizations that we have jointly created over time and organizations that ought to be looking out for us as we move forward. 

CCEC welcomes input from our members on the evolution of the credit union system and how we may play our part.  Feel free to listen into this podcast with Ross Gentleman and Tammy Lea Meyer. 

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On behalf of the board, we are pleased to announce that Tracey Kliesch will be joining CCEC Credit Union as our General Manager as of May 15, 2016. Tracey is coming to CCEC after more than 12 years at Vancity in both operations and community investment. 

“It’s an honour and pleasure to welcome such a strong advocate for co-ops and community organizations to CCEC,” remarked Tammy Lea Meyer, Co-chair of the Board of Directors. “As a champion of co-operative economics and an active leader in the community, we are extremely pleased to have her take on this leadership role at our credit union.”

Tracey has spent the last five years as a Community Investment Portfolio Manager, where she has focused on building meaningful partnerships with mission-based organizations, as well as managing the Youth Community Advisory Committee and online forum. Outside of her work with Vancity, Tracey teaches Cooperatives and Community Economic Development at BCIT, and has worked internationally to promote and strengthen the cooperative model and help build the cooperative movement.

Ms. Meyer continued, “CCEC stands for Community Congress for Economic Change, and as an agent of change, we promote social justice and economic democracy.  It is clear to us that Tracey shares this commitment.  Her proven managerial skills in the financial service industry and a broad understanding of the social profit sector give us confidence that she will represent the values of our members and member communities.  She is well prepared to take on this leadership role at CCEC.”

“I am very excited and deeply honoured to become CCEC’s next GM and I look forward to stewarding the credit union’s continued success,” said Ms. Kliesch. “I have had the pleasure of serving community members in Squamish, Vancouver, East Vancouver and Burnaby for over 12 years with Vancity and look forward to continuing that work in support of CCEC’s members and community organizations. I look forward to working with the Board, our managers, our union and staff to continue to build an organization that is sustainably successful and true to our founding values. I am proud to take the helm of this local, autonomous and independent credit union that so clearly lives and advocates for cooperative values.”

Ms. Kliesch will be replacing Ross Gentleman who is retiring after leading the credit union for three years, having been an active volunteer and contributor for over 35 years. Although he will be missed as GM, we expect he will continue to volunteer in some capacity.

CCEC Credit Union provides financial services to non-profits, co-ops, social enterprises and progressive small businesses, and to individuals affiliated with these community organizations.  As a community development credit union, CCEC has worked with many projects associated with housing, childcare, health, environmental stewardship, gender equality, and free expression.


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The New Economy – still mostly a concept, lots of people have a different vision for the kind of economic environment we are all moving into.  What was the vision for the Impact Economy Whistler, event held in October attended by CCEC Board Members, Tammy Lee Meyer and Marty Frost?  If there was a common word that could be applied to all the visions that were present, it would be “open” as in “open-source” technology - hardware and software; and “open value networks” as a way of organizing groups of people who choose to work together. 

The people who showed up all saw themselves of members of an emerging economy.  They were computer software and hardware engineers, community developers, co-op advocates.  And if there was a common word that could be applied to all the vision that was present, it would be “open”.  The computer people were all working on developing new generations of computer operating systems, applications, communication protocols and hardware, all open source.  Open Source is a concept applied to developments (computer hardware and software primarily at this point) that have no ownership applied to them.  A piece of open source software, for example, carries no license, no proprietary rights attached to it.  Anyone has a right to download a piece of open source software, modify it and put it back up on line for open sharing.  The same principles are being applied to hardware as well. 

Some of those present were also employing “open value networks” as their form of organization.  No incorporation, no legal “rights of a natural person” applied.  Simply a group of people who choose to work together, share projects, share any resulting revenue that may be produced, well, openly.  A couple of examples that people may wish to check out on line would be Sensorica, in Montreal (www.sensorica.co), or 99% Media, also in Montreal ( www.99media.org). Neither has a legal structure, they are networks of workers who get together on a project-by-project basis, and share facilities, tools and revenue. 

The other significant “group” of people were the community development folks, most of whom are involved with local, non-State currencies.  Among these was BC’s own Michael Linton, founder of the LETS system that some of us will remember from its 40 year or so history in and around the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island.  The Mutual Aid Network was represented as well, and profiled for us their highly successful time-banking system they have developed under a co-op umbrella in Madison Wisconsin.  Time-banking is in some ways another form of local currency, certainly a local trading system. (www.mutualaidnetwork.org)

In this video podcast, Michel Bauwens chats with Art Brock, Michael Linton, and Matthew Slater about money and new currencies: accounting systems, "open money", current-sees, exchange in the post-monetary economy, trust, and value exchanges.

Is this to be an aspect of the “New Economy”?  An escape from individual ownership – or any form of ownership at all – into an economic paradigm based on sharing?  If you have a need it will be there for you, if you have something to offer you have ways to offer it, and all free of state-based currency transactions?  To people like me, who has spent most of my life assisting people to work in more sharing – but certainly “legally” structured – forms of economic relationships, it raises all sorts of questions:  how scalable can these organizations be?  How are disputes – those that are now “settled” through the market – be settled?  how would “value” of goods and services be determined?  These are questions that need to be answered as we move forward.  For my part I am thankful that there are people out there who have the passion and nerve to just get out there and do it.  Test these models in the crucible of the capitalist economy in which we live, find the challenges and develop solutions. 

Marty Frost

For more information: 

http://www.impacteconomy.io  and other podcasts  https://soundcloud.com/impact-economy

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The prevalent economic development practice is ineffective, unaffordable and in need of a makeover.  In his book, The Local Economy Solution, Michael Shuman suggests an alternative where cities nurture a new generation of enterprises that help local businesses launch and grow.  These “pollinator businesses,” create jobs and the conditions for economic growth, and are doing so in self-financing ways.

Two years ago, CCEC partnered with like-minded organizations to present a conversation with Michael Shuman speaking to his book, “Local Dollars, Local Sense – How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street”See the blog   So, what's new? 

In his new book, he says, “A growing number of small, private businesses are facilitating local planning and placemaking, nurturing local entrepreneurs, helping local consumers buy local and local investors finance local business."  These functions are performed by “pollinators”.  They are locally-grounded, and succeed by building local support in pursuit of the shared goal of revitalizing the local economy.

Shuman feels that the traditional “economic development” model of chasing after large companies with huge taxpayer subsidy deals is the wrong way to revitalize a crippled or stagnant local economy.  He says, “economic development today is creating almost no new jobs.” 

There is another far more promising path.


At CCEC, your investments and funds give us the capacity to provide business loans to your neighbours who are creating “pollinator businesses”.  Refer friends and co-workers to CCEC.  Think of us when you are buying a home, renovating, going back to school or (fill in the blanks)!


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David Asher has been a member of CCEC since 2007 which is also the time he has been sharing his knowledge on the culture of cheese. David takes a political stance against Big Dairy and criticizes both standard industrial and artisanal cheesemaking practices.  He encourages us to source good raw milk, promotes the use of ethical animal rennet, protests the use of laboratory-grown freeze-dried cultures, and explores how GMO technology is creeping into our cheese. 

Why I belong to CCEC:  I joined to keep my money in my community, and  to divest from the corporate investments that underpin the conventional banking system.  Its such a comfortable place for me to bank, and I cherish the rare opportunity to visit when I come to Vancouver from the Gulf Islands.   And it’s so respectable too; what other banks send out emails with the statement.

David just published his book, The Art of Natural Cheesemaking, and is currently on a North American tour to network, share his knowledge and to educate us on how to "take back our cheese".  So, what does that mean?

Over 10 years ago, while studying at UBC and volunteering at UBC farm, David decided to become a farmer.  He visited a co-operative farm in the Fraser Valley where he had his first taste of a homemade cheese, made by the farm manager with her raw goats milk. He says that tasting the amazing cheeses aged in her own cave provided the spark for him to try cheesemaking at home.  However, as his milk bills started going through the roof, he decided it was time to leave the city and find a cow.

It was at Varalaya farm on Mayne Island (with his farming mentor Ron Pither, founding member of CCEC) that he did his first organic farming apprenticeship, and had his first taste of raw milk.  He got his own goats and kept them in community  as everything is better in community.  He says that the fresh raw milk made all the difference to the natural cheeses, which just don't work right with overprocessed and pasteurized milk. 

The realization that raw milk was most suited to cheesemaking gave him a sense that maybe raw milk is better for us than your average store bought milk. and restrictions on its sale take away consumers rights to choose the most healthy and nourishing foods they could eat.  

Asher's Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking is a traveling cheese school that offers workshops in partnership with food-sovereignty-minded organizations and communities.  He feels that these groups are reconnecting people to the food, the farmers and the land that sustain them.  They bring folks together round the dining table, and educate and empower consumers to make more sustainable food choices, and The Black Sheep School's educational offerings fit right in with their directives.  Together, they are helping to build a stronger and more just food system.  

David is an advocate for consumer access to good raw milk.  He feels that better access to raw milk will help improve our cheesemaking culture. He says, "We just don't make cheese as part of our culture here in North America, and this is in large part due to systemic fear of raw milk, and limits on its access."  Raw milk makes a more simple cheesemaking, and a more delicious cheese, and as we learn to work with it safely, people will realize that making home-made dairy products is entirely possible.  

David is on a North American cheese tour promoting his book with the help of his publishers, Chelsea Green.  He is very excited to share his cheesemaking message with the world, and when he returns wants to set up his Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking on the Gulf Islands.

For more information and to buy his book, click here for the Chelsea Green publishers or visit Amazon.

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Thank you to Councilor (and CCEC Member) Andrea Reimer who presented the Credit Union Day Proclamation signed by the City to Ross Gentleman, CEO and General Manager, CCEC.  In attendance at the event, which was part of our Annual Pancake Breakfast was BC Co-op  Association Executive Director, Carol Murray and Sherese Johnson, Engagement Coordinator; and CCEC Board Members Tammy Lea Meyer and Marty Frost. 

Ingredients for our pancake breakfast purchased from East End Food Co-op featuring  products produced by co-ops.  

 
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Join us as we celebrate Co-op Week, October 13-19. There are lots of activities planned to learn more about the co-operative movement and how co-ops contribute to our local economy and to the betterment of our community. Click here for more information on the BC Co-op Association Website.  

 

Thursday, October 16 - Credit Union Day!  CCEC's Annual Pancake Breakfast
Join us at the branch as we host our annual pancake breakfast from 10am-12nn.  Pancake flippers include your CCEC Board Members and BCCA staff.  I Choose Co-op T-Shirts will be on sale. 

Other events in the CCEC Neighbourhood on Wednesday October 15

BBQ in  Grandview Park hosted by the BCCA and the Co-operators
Location: Grandview Park, Commercial & Charles St. 
Time: 11 am to 2 pm

Co-ops & The Social Economy Workshop
Location: Co-operative Housing Federation of BC
220 - 1651 Commercial Drive
Time: 3 pm to 4:30 pm
As part of the BCCA’s Momentum Centre: The resource hub for new, emerging and established co-ops, this FREE workshop will explore co-operative solutions to social and environmental issues.

 


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Vote for Glorious Organics Co-operative to win $25,000 in the National Co-op Challenge.  Fraser Common Farm, CCEC Member, is a community farm of which Glorious Organics is the farming co-operative.  The Farm has been cooperatively owned and managed for more than 30 years.

Go to the Voting page   and sign up to receive voting reminders.  Help them to win $25,000 that will be used to build a new education centre.  

Fraser Common Farm offers a unique balance of food production, habitat conservation, communal & individual housing, and a sincere desire for long term sustainability – this is a social and community experiment, a work in progress, and a dream come true.   They care about the food they grow, and the land upon which they live. They have composting toilets throughout the farm and in some of their homes. They grow organic food – including pre-cut salads, vegetables, culinary herbs, edible flowers, and some fruit. And the food tastes really great.

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Save the Dates:   International Credit Union Day is October 16 and Co-op Week is October 13-19.

 

 

The year’s message is,

“Local Jobs and Services. Global Good.”

Canadian credit unions have a long history of supporting their communities, which collectively contributes to greater global good. Credit unions have had great success in doing business this way and this is evidenced by our growing membership regionally, nationally and globally.

THINK Co-operative!  


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