From Rapping in buses in Winnipeg, to Aboriginal Theatre in Saskatoon, to Folk Music in St. John’s, the Canadian CED Network has embraced the true spirit and culture of community in Canada. I am so proud of being part of a civil society organization that linked up the very best of our community spirit and defied Government Canada and Corporate Canada.
I was Executive Director of the Network for 7 years and enjoyed every moment! The connection to members across the country from rural, suburban, northern, Aboriginal, urban, and goofy was great – especially the goofy ones who innovated out of the box and got incredible results. We scaled great heights – like the social economy initiative of the Government of Canada – and we supported the grass roots – like the community development learning initiative for grass roots community activisits.
That work needs to continue…every day in my role as Executive Director of the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria I use my experience and knowledge from the Network to inform our local work, and use the knowledge from our Social Economy Research Program to inspire young people with a vision of a more community-, people-, and Earth- centred economy. I also use that knowledge to build my own family’s social enterprise ‘LALOCA‘ that retails FAIR LOCAL AND GLOBAL TRADE products, just like our colleagues do in the Solidarity Economy in Latin America.
Last year my organization had Walter Hossli from my first CCEDNet Board speak at our AGM, this year Rankin MacSween is coming to support our Community Investment Fund. The solidarity from the Network is real and goes on and on.
Rupert Downing is the Executive Director of the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, a nonprofit organization taking action on sustainable community development. Prior to joining the Council, he was the Executive Director of the Canadian CED Network from 2002 to 2008. He was also the Co-Director of the Canadian Social Economy Research Program from 2006 to 2011, funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.
Rupert also previously worked for the BC government on social and economic policy initiatives for seven years, and was Executive Director of the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC) prior to joining government.