This past weekend, we saw the birth of the Occupy Canada movement. Growing from Occupy Wall Street, these peaceful protests are sprouting up globally. The theme -- 'We are the 99%.'
Most of the benefits of a capitalist economy flow to 1% of the population. And people are no longer willing to sit by and watch the planet be destroyed while 1% of humanity pockets the spoils. Instead, they are coming together to take a stand for economic justice and democratic renewal.
The corporate system, upon which capitalism is founded, has a mandate -- profit. Did you know that corporations, as defined by law, have only one responsibility, and that is to turn a profit to their investors? Corporate officers who observe any other priorities can be legally removed.
California recently passed into law Benefit Corporations and Flexible Purpose Corporations. These additions to corporation law allow a company to declare as its purpose -- and be measured by, and held legally responsible for -- environmental and social good as well as profit. Companies thus incorporated are accountable to employees, communities and the environment. If this had been the way corporations were set up from the start, we would have a different world.
More than 100 years ago, booming coal mines brought my family to Vancouver Island. Others came to work in logging, fishing and farming, as we sent BC's natural gifts around the world. It seemed our supply of natural resources would never end. People worked hard and were able to get ahead.
Our children deserve a chance to stay here and raise their families in the community they grew up in. Our seniors deserve a chance to live out their years in the community they helped to build. So do we. We have the ability as citizens to make this happen. Buying local, for example, supports our neighbours and keeps dollars circulating here in the valley.
The Official Community Plan says our Council will work on creating a positive business climate, one that promotes growth and diversity, and brings jobs that are sustainable.
We must work to attract green industries to North Cowichan -- in fields such as agro-forestry, alternative energy, local food production, technology and eco-tourism. Businesses that will provide living wages for residents, and keep in place what we love about this valley.
I also support industry that uses our natural resources here, instead of shipping them away. This includes locally-owned specialty mills to prepare our lumber, and entrepreneurs to turn our milling by-products into new products or energy.
And I'll work to support local businesses and industries that are already here, the ones that provide jobs near home with liveable wages. They keep our wealth circulating here in North Cowichan, instead of shipping it off to international corporate offices.
There is no doubt that globally, humanity is facing huge challenges. We in North Cowichan are in an enviable position to face them.
We already have unequaled public forests, a growing network of trails, an expanding public transit system, and new greener development standards. We have agricultural land that could produce much more of the food we need. And we have creative, energetic people who are dedicated to finding new ways to make our economy vibrant.