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On Monday September 14, news broke that Mountain Equipment Co-op’s board of directors had unanimously approved a deal to sell MEC’s assets to a private U.S. firm. MEC never asked its members (more than 5 million) to weigh in.
What happened to Co-operative Principle #2 – Democratic Member Control?
In this episode, we dig into the background stories and asked these important questions:
- How did Mountain Equipment Co-op get started?
- Where is the accountability? The board? Management?
- What’s changed over the last 10 years?
- What can be done legally to stop the sale?
- What is the effect on Canada’s co-op sector?
- How are members taking action?
Have a listen.
Our research includes interviews with:
- Rob Brusse, founding and active member (full 30 min interview)
- Karen Miner, Managing Director of the International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s University, Vice-Chair of the Board for Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada and board member at MEC 2006 to 2012
- Peter Robinson CEO of MEC from 2000 through 2007 (full 20 min interview)
Each For All convened a panel discussion to answer our questions. Our panel includes:
- Mary Childs, a lawyer with years of experience working with co-ops, now General Council at Tsawwassen First Nation
- Marc-Andre Pigeon, Director of the Canadian Centre for Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan
- And regular monthly guest, John Kay, Chair of the Board of Co-ops and Mutuals of Canada, Vice-Chair of the BC Co-op Association and CEO of Realize Strategies Co-op
Just before air, we caught up with Kevin Harding. Kevin is helping lead the SaveMEC.ca campaign where you can add your support.
Everyone who feels passionately about this issue can also contribute to https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-mec-legal-fund
Over 5 Million of us are members. We deserve to be heard.
My wife and I, although not active supporters of MEC, but members for many years, they long ago abandoned people of limited means, listened with great interest to Co-op Radio and feel outraged that so few people could disenfranchise so many. These board members must have had a gun to their collective heads to move forward with this. Shame on them for abandoning the spines they must all have, at some point.
Important work. I hope the decision can be reversed but even if it is not this travesty must be studied and understood. If it is legal the Canadioan co-operative movement must ensure it is illegal in the future.