Number 7

Alastair Fraser;   Canadian Rural Revitalization – Public Bank Coalition Canada

The rural counties of Glengarry and Prescott exists in a corridor between two of the Nation’s three largest urban regions and therefore has had many of the dire effects caused by rural depopulation forces masked. The resident bedroom trend has prevented the depopulation from being deeper and the wasteland effect from being both more stark and rapid.

As an action plan and countervailing force to decapitalization, Public Bank Coalition Canada, visualize a network of local investment cooperatives which are public and member-owned, in each self-identified community in every region of Canada.

These ‘grass-root’ institutions are to be volunteer initiatives. They are meant to come into existence in every village, town or small city borough which has the vigour and initiative to consider themselves to be are a vibrant and living community.

Community Investment Banks are decentralized, cooperative, therefore socialist and civic-oriented, but also individualist and capitalist, supporting the profit motive, in the truer sense of these words as well as being independent and progressive.

“In essence, a cooperative association is nothing other than a group founded in order to compensate for individual economic weakness. Their members do not seek to become richer at the expense of their neighbours; rather they seek to help each other and to protect the weakest among them”

Alphonse Dejardins, 1907

These Community Reserve Banks (investment cooperatives) modelled upon the German Sparkassen Banking Network when transferred into the Canadian Financial and Banking system, would be careful to capture the essence which has made Sparkassen the most successful and enduring Banking system in the world over the last two hundred years.

The CRB, Community Reserve Bank’s, fundamental characteristics are; local to a district currency union, community financed, democratic, volunteer, cooperative, entrepreneurial, socialist, profit-oriented capitalist and encompassed within a wider national financial investment network. While operating independently, but not isolated or alone, each CRB is in association with a Regional Cooperative Bank which provides needed professional support, technical and financial services.

In addition, the Canadian version of the Sparkassen Banking Network would include not only the hundreds of local Community Reserve cooperatives and a smaller number of Regional Service Cooperatives but also some dedicated investment funds which would allow non-rural interested groups, such as government, industry and citizens, to participate in the larger network without usurping the independence and local community initiative which it encapsulates.

But, at the core of this initiative is a special national private rural infrastructure Bank. This OSFI licensed Chartered Bank would have access to the Bank of Canada Reserve System, similar to the Big Six Cartel Banks and to the sixteen new private specialty Banks operating presently under the revised Federal Bank Act in Canada.

This new national special chartered commercial bank, specifically designed as a Rural Infrastructure Bank, would be the prime source of new capital resources available to be ‘pumped’ into the host of new local Community Reserve Cooperative institutions which are to be formed all across Canada.

This is the crux of the banking infrastructure which shall be used to refurbish the non-agriculture small business environment and to  revitalize Rural Canada.

In the coming weeks this discussion series will look at various issues such as the; the Family Compact factor aspect of the Currency Union, any associated Capital Funds, local investor capital resources and startup financial realities, risk management culture, public participation models and the ways and means of a public investment bank involvement in the business environment; insights into the state of private capitalism and social democracy in Canada and the world at large.

Public Bank Canada Coalition is pointing to the light at the end of the ‘dying rural community systemic tunnel’ that has engulfed rural Canada. Public Bank Coalition is searching for that one remaining spark of life. The government will not be able to help us if we individually and collectively are not willing to step out and be counted. Please contact me, Alastair Fraser, at