November 16 - 20, 2006 - News

Challenges for Venezuela's Revolution
Michael Lebowitz, professor emeritus of the department of economics at Simon Fraser University, is a director of the Centro Internacional Miranda (CIM) in Caracas, and author of the newly published book Build it Now: Socialism for the Twenty-First Century. He was interviewed by Coral Wynter and Jim McIlroy for the Australian newspaper Green Left Weekly.

"There is a fascinating process happening here", Lebowitz explained. "The process began with the [1998] election of [President Hugo] Chavez, but took significant form with the establishment of the [Bolivarian] constitution [in 1999]. There are enormously unique elements in this constitution: in particular, the focus on human development, the focus on the full development of everyone's personality, and the clear recognition that this can only occur through practice.

Charest confirms Quebec's participation in funding for social economy
Premier Jean Charest says the Quebec government is giving $10 million to companies that have a "social conscience." The money is part of $58 million from Ottawa and Quebec that will be announced next week for companies in the social economy. Charest announced the funding over five years as he opened a two-day summit on the social economy.

See also:

Ethanol plant looking for financing
The Canadian Sweet Potato Ethanol Alliance is in a holding pattern while awaiting financing. “We thought we’d be farther, quicker,” said CEO Berry Murray. “We’re not discouraged, we’re just trying to reassess why we’re not getting our message across.” Murray admitted things aren’t going well as far as acquiring government assistance. The co-op had applied for funding from the Community Transition Fund, but was unsuccessful. “We were really hoping this project would be recognized by both levels of government as a part of the tobacco exit strategy,” he said.

Palestine: The Olive Picker
When Bristol, U.K., based, Ed Hill's elderly mother persuaded him to accompany her on a 'Holy Land Tour', as a committed atheist, he was underwhelmed. He returned from Palestine a changed man, in love with the place and people, enraged at their plight. He joined solidarity movements, campaigned and with Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign helped raise money for an orphanage in the northern town of Tulkarm, to which Bristol mosques contributed generously. Then Palestine's life blood, olives, touched his heart. He had learned of olive groves, some over a hundred years old, bulldozed by the Israelis. Then he heard of the Zaytoun Co-operative, formed by a group who put their scant savings, student loans, unemployment money, to export olive oil to the U.K. He started selling Zaytoun's oils and the project became a passion: 'I had crossed the line, I became a Zaytoun Zealot!', says Hill.

Forest co-op teams up with Renfrew band
The Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative hopes a partnership with the Pacheedaht First Nation will lead to the logging of more fibre on a 50-50 basis. A letter of intent to apply for a new land-based licence has been sent to the Ministry of Forests. “So I suppose they’ve received it, have read it and are wondering what to do with it,” said Tom Jones, the forest co-op’s registered professional forester. “The desired outcome is that the Pacheedaht and the co-op reach an agreement for 50,000 cubic metres a year.”

Co-operative eyes use for Harewood school
IGROUP LOOKING at several ideas to save building from wrecker's ball. A group of citizens is looking to breathe new life into the idle Harewood elementary school as a community centre. The building has been sitting closed for two years, and the Harewood Community Centre Cooperative is trying on several fronts to save the structure from being torn down.

Blue Heron Co-Operative Homes Inc.: First Ottawa Housing Co-Op in 10 Years to Open Sunday
Blue Heron Co-operative Homes - the first non-profit housing co-op to be built in Ottawa in over 10 years - will hold its official opening on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006 from 2 pm to 4 pm.

New mortgage mixes home ownership
British Columbia's hot real estate market has made it increasingly difficult for many, particularly younger people or first-time buyers, to purchase a home. In response, Vancity now offers the "Mixer Mortgage"-a new approach to traditional home buying, designed for a "mix of people" who partner up to purchase a home and take out a mortgage.

East to West: microcredit on the move
IT’S NOT OFTEN that common sense triumphs so spectacularly as it has with the microcredit story. Poor women are empowered through a simple and practical credit formula; the high and mighty and their grand schemes are one-upped; one of the world’s poorest nations – Bangladesh – comes up as the source of a brilliant new economic movement; and even "Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada," as the world press puts it, in case there’s some confusion about where it is, gets some good drive-by publicity.

City's poorest offered an alternative to payday lenders
A new inner-city pilot project hopes to move some of Winnipeg's poorest people from a cash-only economy into the plastic age. Debra Joyal, manager of the Community Financial Services Centre, said it will be a one-stop shop offering a wide range of services, including accessing cash and getting "micro" loans for as little as $20. "We're offering people an alternative to the payday lenders. A lot of people in our target market don't have bank accounts. We want to give them the confidence to open a bank account and teach them how to save and manage their money so they don't get into a (payday loan) situation," she said in an interview Friday.

See also:

Ethical investing paying off: Plenty of choice in stock market, proponents say
Is it possible to make the world a better place and make money at the same time? Absolutely, fans of ethical investing say. Ethical investing involves buying mutual funds that consist of companies evaluated not only for their financial performance, but also for their environmental, social and governance policies and practices.