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CCEC is pleased to co-promote the Global Divestment Week, May 5-13,with the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, one of our member-owners.


Back in 2014, CCEC Credit Union was granted intervenor status in the National Energy Board hearings for the Kinder Morgan pipeline on behalf of our members, including Yarrow Ecovillage, whose homes and organic farm is on the pipeline route. The process was deeply flawed, and many intervenors pulled out of the hearings, citing them as ‘unfair’ and ‘biased’. Unfortunately, of course, the pipeline has been approved, without full consent of Indigenous Peoples and concerned community members.


Today we invite you to participate in the Global Divestment Week being led by 350.org, and encourage you to divest in Kinder Morgan, as well as other dirty fossil fuel companies. We have created a peer to peer podcast with Dawn Morrison, founder and chair of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, with Tammy Lea Meyer, co-chair of our board.

 

 This podcast explores some key points of entry into a journey of better understanding how Indigenous land and food systems intra-act in both complementary and contentious ways, and highlights some key issues, concerns and strategies that cross fertilize Indigenous food sovereignty, sustainable energy, and climate justice with the divestment campaigns and hopeful economics. The podcast is a beautiful expression of the ways in which we can work across cultures to prevent any further damage to the forests, fields and waterways that are the basis of the food system as a whole.

 

CCEC and the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty encourages divestment from fossil fuels, and supports investment in community economic development and sustainable energy plans. These are ways we can all personally take action and empower ourselves in creating a thriving future where the ancient ways of being in the world can inform how we can be in right relationship with the land, water and food that is the basis of the economic system that we all benefit from.


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Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks Work Towards a Poverty Free BC 

Lettuce Turnip the Beet on Poverty Reduction Campaign

Meet CCEC Member, Vancouver Neighbouhood Food Networks (VNFN) and Ian Marcuse, tong-time CCEC Member who is one of the sponsors for this group.  Ian works for the Grandview Woodland Food Connection, one of the 14 neighbourhoods across Vancouver who belong to this Food Network.

The VNFN’s are a grassroots network of people, organizations and agencies collaborating on food initiatives to ensure that all community members have access to healthy, culturally appropriate and sustainably produced food.  Ian says, “We know that food brings people together and help to build connections, but it also divides us as a community.  There are too many people that don’t have enough money to pay for food.”  Financial constraints have been identified as an underlying cause of food insecurity by groups including the Dieticians of Canada.

That is why Ian and the other Network Coordinators are working with the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition to bring attention to the fact that British Columbia remains the only province in Canada without a formal plan to reduce poverty; and that having an effective and comprehensive poverty reduction plan is critical for achieving food security.  Ian says, “In our work, we engage with the most marginalized community members, witnessing first-hand the detrimental impact that barriers to accessing food and abject poverty can have on a persons’ health and well-being. It is often those with the greatest need for high quality nutritious food that face the most difficult barriers to accessing it.” 

He shares with us the story of one of the participants in the Bulk Buying Program.

"When I first met her just over one year ago, she said, “I am literally starving”, and now she says, “this program has saved my life".   I’ve worked 9 years in this job and no-one in Vancouver has said to me that they were starving.  I then learned that Anne is a pensioner, on a low fixed income, has multiple health and mobility related issues related to eating an unhealthy diet for many years.  She didn’t have money for healthy food.  Then her doctor told her she was malnourished and must eat more fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods.

Being in the program has given her the option to eat more veggies.  Anne now enjoys trying new foods she would not normally eat, such as kale.   She also describes the community connection that has helped her.  Anne told me she feels that the program is not just a food pick up, but an event to look forward to and a chance to connect with others and share health and cooking tips and what works for others."

Ian tells us that the Food Networks campaign, Lettuce Turnip the Heat on Poverty Reduction – Vote!  is designed to make the connection between poverty and food insecurity.  He says, “Poverty is an election issue. We are working to raise our voices together to show candidates in the provincial election that we’ll be voting for politicians that commit to a strong and thorough poverty reduction plan.”

For more information and to see the the infographics developed by the VNFN group that show the impacts on each pillar on alleviating hunger, visit http://vancouverfoodnetworks.com/vote/  
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Former CCEC GM Jill Kelly was honoured with the Gary Gillam Award at last week's Central 1 Annual General Meeting. The award goes to individuals who exhibit exceptional leadership, as volunteers and otherwise, in the pursuit of community economic development.  Jill was recognized for her achievements in the world of credit unions (especially as a pioneer at CCEC), childcare, co-op housing, LGBTQ rights, worker co-ops, and community healthcare. Jill currently sits on the board of the Reach Community Health Clinic. Hooray for Jill!  With humility, in her remarks she expressed her appreciation and noted that all the items listed were done jointly with others. She asked that the cash award be directed to Groundswell Education Society and the Cooperative Development Foundation.

The other award winner was another CCEC member.  Catherine Ludgate served on the CCEC board for nine years, during which time she went to work for Vancity.  There she carried two projects; the Living Wage campaign and Each One, Teach One Financial Literacy campaign. These initiatives lead to her being recognized under this awards program as well. Congrats to both Jill and Catherine!

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Who Controls the Economy’s Money Supply?

www.positivemoney.org  

Submittted by CCEC member Joan Woodward

Most of us have been led to believe that the boom-bust cycle is inevitable.  We have been sold vague notions about “business confidence”, “herd psychology”, and best of all, “mysterious market forces”.  We are expected to have blind faith in the “crumbs from the table effect” (alternately know as the trickle-down effect) and to immediately genuflect in the presence of the banker priests of our economic destiny. 

While a great many of us intuitively feel that there is something wrong with the economic structures that direct our collective destiny, we find ourselves unable to define the precise changes needed.  This is the result of a great many oft repeated myths about who, or what, controls the money supply and how the money supply machine works. 

In an effort to clarify and debunk many of the commonly held beliefs about how the banking system works, a small group of people founded an organization in Britain with the ambitious objective of bringing about monetary reform.  This organization quickly blossomed into a group of 30,000 plus members and followers and now has affiliates all across Europe. 

To begin with, Positive Money surveyed the ways in which people typically view the role of banks. 

About a third of those surveyed believe that the bank is like a piggy bank which keeps money in a safe place on behalf of the saver.  In other words, no one is using the money while it is sitting the bank. 

The other two thirds had a slightly more sophisticated understanding of the banking industry.  They believe that banks are an intermediary between savers and borrowers.  Savers deposit money which can then be lent out to borrowers.  This implies that the amount of money available for loans is dependent on the amount of savings that have been deposited in the banks.  It also implies that reckless lending would cause the banks to run out of lending ability.  A third assumption is that governments control the amount of money circulating in a given country through institutions such as the Royal Mint, where coins are punched out of metal and bank notes are printed. 

Those who have studied a bit of economics in school typically understand the creation of money through classical economic theory.  This theory teaches that a bank won’t need to keep all its depositors’ money on hand at any given time.  Instead, the bank keeps back a small reserve, of say, 10%, and lends out the other 90%.  If a bank had a $1000 deposit and lent out $ 900 of that, the $ 900 would probably be deposited into a different bank, from which deposit, the bank could lend out 90%, or $810. Supposedly this cycle continues until almost all of the original money is lent out which would be about 200 cycles. The sum total of all these loans would add up to about $10,000 dollars.  This implies that the reserve ratio dictates how much money can be circulating in the economy at any given time.  If the 10% reserve ratio were increased, less money would be available for lending: if the reserve ratio were decreased, more money would be available for lending.  This also implies that the money supply is finite and has natural limits based on the reserve quota, or base money in the banking system. 

Unfortunately, the reserve ratio is an antiquated notion.   According to Chris Ferreira who writes for   http://www.economicreason.com , the reserve requirement for Canadian Banks is zero and has been for many years.  Unfortunately, many people who hold influential positions in the Canadian economy still cling to these outmoded economic theories. 

The money supply is therefore, not finite, and can be expanded or contracted at the will of the banks.  In order to better understand this, we need to have a look at the three forms of money circulating in the economy.   These are:  inter-bank settlement money (central bank reserves); cash; and electronic bank deposit money.  Interbank settlement money is an electronic system designed to cancel out payments that the banks owe to each other.  At the end of a business day, the amount of money not cancelled out by the debts individual banks owe to each other is infinitesimally small.  The term “fractional reserve banking’ come from a time before computers when banks were required to have a percentage of their holdings at the ready for inter-bank and other liabilities at the end of each business day.   Thus, there are only two forms of money that really matter in today’s world. They are the 97% of all money used by the public in the electronic (based on deposits) money and the 3% constituted in cash.    

If there were a reserve ratio, a fraction of the bank’s assets held back immediate payouts would constrict the amount of lending a bank could do.  A reserve ratio of 10% would mean that the same money could only be lent out again ten times over.  This would limit the extent to which the banks expand the amount of money present in the economy through the creation of loans.  In the modern era, the fractional reserve system has been partially replaced by the capital adequacy requirements.  This buffer of financial assets is meant to absorb unexpected financial losses by the bank.  This buffer is not intended to limit the amount of reckless lending the banks can engage in.  It only ensures that when a financial crisis hits and everyone else is going under, the banks will not.  The only thing that really reigns in the amount of capital created through loans is the willingness of the banks to lend.  This business confidence of the banks is bolstered when banks are not held responsible for reckless and immoral banking practices. 

Now there some who argue that banks create credit and not money.  Credit implies risk, so if a bank grants a customer a loan, it creates that loan in figures on the customer’s bank statement.  The amount of money in the customer’s account is then guaranteed by the government of Canada.  The customer’s bank account has now become risk free for the customer.  In this way, banks are creating money (no risk) not credit. 

When more businesses and individuals are borrowing money, more money is created by the banks.  More money is circulating, more people are employed, and the economy is said to be doing well.  When people choose not to borrow, or worse yet, to save, the amount of money in circulation is reduced.  Given that the banks’ ability to loan is in no way connected to the level of bank deposits, so is there any inherent social value in saving?  What is good for an individual does not seem to coincide with what is good for the economy as a whole.    What can we do as individuals to improve the amount of money in circulation for everyone?  

At present, the successes of the banks result in house price bubbles and gambling on financial markets.  What can we do to see that money comes into the real economy before it goes into gambling on real estate and financial markets?  In other words, can we take the power of money creation away from the banks?  Under a transparent and accountable form of democratic process, newly created money could be used to refurbish public infrastructure and raise the incomes of ordinary people.  Could this be done under a politically non-partisan government body at arm’s length from the government of the day?  These are question posed by Positive Money, a European group presently looking at a change in the economic paradigm.  For more information, please refer to www.positivemoney.org  

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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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Hitting the reset button and working on their credit, the Rangel family overcame some financial difficulties by following the roadmap laid out by CCEC staff.  Giomar says, “CCEC has kept at our side and supported us through this hard time.”  She continues, “Pamela (CCEC Branch Operations Manager) didn’t stick us in the box that all banks limit themselves to…instead she worked with us and gave us options and ideas on how we could reach our goal.”

The Rangel family has been CCEC members since arriving in Canada in 1996.  For the last 20 years, Giomar says, “CCEC has been of great help to my family.  CCEC has helped us, but she (Pamela) has also helped both our daughters.  My eldest, with the help of CCEC purchased her first home this year.  My other daughter is currently on a financial path Pamela laid out for her which will allow her to hopefully be a home owner next year.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Rangel’s have a family operated painting business, Colcana Painters,  for almost ten years. They recently acquired a very big painting contract and, Giomar says, “Thanks to your support, we have been able to grow as a company and look forward to continuing growing now that my children are starting to take the reins of the company.”

The Rangel family is moving into their new home at the end of June with all the joys and challenges that come with home ownership. 

All of us at CCEC wish you and your family best wishes in your new home.

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July 7:  Raising funds to pay for garden supplies and programs.  Join up at Britannia School Garden with  community members who care about school gardening, socialize, have fun, and support a great cause. An in-the-garden event featuring a gourmet dinner, live music, silent auction, homemade pies, and games and activities for all ages.
Tickets: $30 adults, $15 youth, children under 6 are free. Tickets at Britannia Info Centre.

"The Britannia School Garden is one of Grandview Woodland Food Connection (GWFC)'s  main programs, acknowledging that healthy food choice should start at a young age.   We work with approximately 100 students, connecting them to the food they eat, learning and growing.  For most students, planting seeds, caring for the garden, then harvesting and eating veggies that they grew is an empowering experience."  CCEC member Ian Marcuse,  GWFC Coordinator (a Neighbourhood Food Network member) which support food access for Grandview Woodland and nearby residents who are struggling financially. 

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Hunger in Canada is not about the lack of food.  People are food insecure because they can’t afford to eat.  Poverty is a multi-dimensional problem.  We know that the systemic causes of poverty cannot be addressed overnight.  But, we need to put in place a Government-wide integrated approach to addressing the systemic issues of poverty based on the principles of social inclusion and collaboration.  And that we need to start with income.

Meet CCEC Member, the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks and its’ member sponsors, Ian Marcuse and Joanne MacKinnon.  Ian says, “As the price of food escalates, increasing numbers of households are feeling the food affordability squeeze.  We are seeing more people coming to our programs that include community kitchens, community meals and food hampers (bulk buying and free baskets).  We are feeling under pressure as we need to expand our existing food programs and establish new food programs to serve those in need.  Ideally, rather than expanding existing food security programming, we would prefer to tackle the systems that result in food insecurity and end poverty."

So, who is going hungry?  We have a growing population of working poor in Canada whose wages do not cover basic necessities.  2/3 of food insecure people are working.  We know that inadequate wages, shrinking social assistance rates, meager pensions, illness and disability are at the heart of food insecurity.  More than 4 million people in Canada are unsure about where they’ll eat next or skip meals so their kids can eat.   1 in 8 people are food insecure but only 25% access the food bank.

The Neighbourhood Food Networks, with 12 part-time funded coordinators, are part of the Greenest City Action Plan to address food security and to increase all residents’ access to healthy, culturally appropriate food.  Joanne MacKinnon says, “We believe in the right-to-food, and social justice are at the forefront of our philosophy and how we approach our work.”  She continues, “We work with our program participants but are engaged and contribute their diverse skills and talents toward co-creating a just and sustainable neighbourhood food system.”

Part of the solution is for BC, who is the only province in Canada without a Poverty Reduction Strategy and Canada, who lacks a comprehensive policy to step up and put in place the strategies and policies around food justice.  According to CCEC Member, Raise the Rates, Canada has a Poverty Policy.  This needs to change.

But, Do Poverty Reduction Strategies work?  Let’s look at Newfoundland and Labrador's Poverty Reduction Strategy which is a government-wide (13 Ministries) approach to promoting self-reliance, opportunity, and access to key supports for persons vulnerable to poverty.  The strategy, introduced in 2006, includes more than 90 initiatives that were created based on an intensive public consultation process.  Their cross Ministerial approach developed strategies to address the linkages between poor health and low income, between low income employment and limited economic development, between poverty and violence and impacts on women’s equality, and the need to support persons with disabilities.  How do they know it is working?  Just one indicator shows that it is working: food insecurity has been reduced by 50%. 

The bottom line is that we should be supporting employees fighting for fair, livable wages.  It’s time that politicians, backed by citizen voices, talk about justice and equity.  It’s time to create real, long lasting solutions to poverty and hunger, policies that bring us together, rather than divide us as citizens.

In BC, we have 17 government ministries that work with vulnerable populations and, often-times, they seem to be working at cross purposes.  We know that the systemic causes of poverty cannot be addressed overnight.  But, we know we need to get started.  Next year, 2017, is a BC Provincial Government election.  Make your vote count.

The Neigbhourhood Food Network and its’ coordinators at the local level are unique and separate in that we respond to community needs with grassroots solutions. But, together, we represent the experiences of thousands of individuals across the city, giving us an important role to play in advocacy and systems change.

Learn more about the Neighbourhood Food Networks and support our work. 

And, sign on to end poverty in Canada:  http://www.dignityforall.ca/   

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Meet CCEC member, John Hemsworth, lead design architect with Hemsworth Architects, who received a 2016 Governor General's Medal in Architecture for his BC Passive House Factory design located in Pemberton. 

John says that he got involved in passive housing as a client, Durfeld Constructors, who had assembled Austria House (the first Passive House in Canada built for the 2010 Olympics) contracted him to design their state of the art factory. 

                                                        

Why we belong to CCEC:  

"We have been members of the CCEC for a number of years now
and very much appreciate the small town feeling of the bank.  
In a world dominated by multinational corporate self interest, 
it is always a pleasure  to walk into the CCEC and feel welcomed.”  

John Hemsworth

 

 

The factory, for which he received the design award, is the first of its kind in North America and will facilitate the advancement of sustainable, energy-efficient, wood-based construction.  John says, “There is a growing interest in North America for solid wood construction, ie glulam and cross laminated timber.  And BC is a leader in the design and production.”  The client, BC Passive House (BCPH), mandated that the design and construction of their new facility exemplify their investment in wood construction, prefabrication, energy efficiency, and sustainable design practice.  The new 1,500-square-metre facility is used for the manufacturing of prefabricated Passive House panels and was conceived as a simple, light-filled, wooden box.

So, what is passive housing?  Watch the video to learn more in 90 seconds: 

Passive House Explained in 90 Seconds from Hans-Jörn Eich on Vimeo.

John says that the key advantages of passive housing are:  90% reduction in energy use; no furnace so no fossil fuels; and overall better air quality in the house

Matheo Durfeld, CEO BC Passive House says, “Hemsworth Architecture exceeded our ambitions for our project by designing a stunning, yet robust and cost effective building…that reflects our commitment to sustainable design methods.”

John applies his diverse experience in architectural design, mechanical engineering, environmental initiatives, and community development work to further our commitment to an environmentally sustainable and culturally sensitive architecture.

With over 16 years of architectural experience, John has been involved with all aspects of architectural services, including: feasibility studies, programming, design, contract documents and construction administration. His work has been recognized with numerous provincial and national awards.

Congratulations, John! 

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During WW2 in Britain, the government introduced rationing to make sure that people got an equal amount of food every week.  Rationing lasted 14 years, ‘Dig For Victory’ gardens were everywhere, and the health of all improved, infant mortality decreased, and life expectancy increased.  Before the Second World War started Britain imported about 55 million tons of food a year from other countries.  During the war as supply lines were impacted, they had to take measures to increase their food self-sufficiency. The government was worried that as food became scarcer, prices would rise and poorer people might not be able to afford to eat.

Compare the food basket during rationing with what a person on welfare can buy in BC today:

We need to raise the rate! Read our blog on Raise the Rate or visit their Website.

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