Number 7 email:
Alastair Fraser; Canadian Rural Revitalization – Public Bank Coalition Canada

Canadian Rural Revitalization is dependent upon rural Canadians taking back the financial and governmental responsibility for the decisions and forces that control and shape their lives.

Pointedly a question must be asked, “Are rural Canadians going to be able to rescue their way of life and cultural heritage from the dustbin of history?”  It is time for rural people to step off the conveyor belt that leads to both political and business diminished influence in their own communities. Rural Canadians must be determined once more to swing above their weight by promoting their own story instead of being content to play a bit part in someone else’s.  All aspects of the agricultural industry; heritage, dairy, cash crop, horticulture and market gardening, must recognize the advantage, critical importance and necessity of joining others of independent mind, who call the rural environs home, to take part in leadership to rescue Rural Canada. Participating in this initiative to build a national rural infrastructure banking network from coast to coast is a once in a lifetime calling. It is better to build together, for we are not an island than to hang back and watch forlornly as heritage is lost to history. So we must start to adjust our horizons. We must begin to act purposefully. We must step forward to join, not only with our immediate family and neighbours, but others like ourselves in our immediate region and from beyond, from similar communities in peril, from all regions of Canada to make a new better and sustainable rural economy that serves people. No one will step forward to rescue Rural Canada unless rural people do so first. The campaign to build the Rural Canada that has a glorious future a vibrant home to a growing populace is dependent upon harmonizing rural lifestyle with the environment and on establishing a rural banking infrastructure network that would include a wide array of varying rural interests. Groups that are concerned about the wellbeing of rural townships and small cities in Canada are coming together to beat back the external forces that are causing Rural Canada to ride a tide of devastation. Those interested parties include elements of the Federal Government, Provincial Institutions, Private agricultural industry associations, the Big Five Banking Cartel, Credit Unions, Industry Service Groups, academics, rural individuals and leaders including Councilors, Members of Parliament and of the Provincial Legislatures.

Ideas, including myths, as well as technology, possess the powerful potential for both enhancing and damaging Rural Canadian life. Now is the time to reinstate some aspects of social democracy, contemplate the place of the mythical self-made independent persona and revisit the historic reality of the culturally involved business person who contributed and was depended upon others, who were also responsible citizens within their communities.  Reviving rural Canadians, towns and villages, communities in a practical sense needs to be a united crusade, a concerted push back on forces of centralization, the far removed banker as high priest and the half-truth,  of one size, fits all,  big government philosophies of Neoliberal ideologues.  It is time to recognize and name those trends and external forces that have diminished, disenfranchised and robbed local citizenry of initiative and responsibility for both the destruction and wellbeing of Rural Canada.  We are not alone in recognizing that the devastation has gone on far too long already. One positive first step is to form a CRLB, Community Reserve Land-Bank. You would not be alone. There are active social-democratic cooperatives and micro-lenders supporting the small fresh food farmers in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. There are elements of a vibrant grassroots community banking discussion in the Maritime Provinces focused on New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

The CRLB can be visualized as sitting at the top of a massive inverted pyramid. Numerous small volunteer-run Community Reserve Land-Banks, as a group, would join to own a Regional Banking service Cooperative. The regional Bank Cooperative of Eastern Ontario is an example. The regional office would be within reasonable proximity to all the independent SRLBs,  say from Kingston to Renfrew to Lancaster. Each CRLB, (Community Merchant Bank) would work in concert with the Regional Service Cooperative or Capital Partners institution to carry on best practices of due diligence, risk management, underwriting, lending and investing for their local community.

There are two critical features of the proposed rural infrastructure network which anyone who wants to appreciate the awesome possibility warranted by the Community Reserve Land-Bank’s potential to revitalize and to transform rural communities must take time to contemplate. First, is the establishment of a national Rural Infrastructure Bank. A new Charted Bank dedicated to the rural small business sector of the national economy.  A bank with access to Bank of Canada Reserve currency positioned at one apex of the new Banking Network. This newly Chartered Bank would be the source of a large part of the Capital Resources now flowing into Rural Canada.  Then ponder the impact of a newly-imported construct, positioned at the other apex, surrounding each newly formed Community Merchant banking cooperative, there would be placed a Currency Union District. The CUD is a fundamental concept that is crucial to the philosophical and cultural success of the Canadian Rural Banking Network. It is directly modelled upon the very successful financial, business and banking culture of the Sparkassen Banking Network in Germany.