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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 7, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Moreh 7, 1973 THE UTHMIDGt HHAID 37 Quebec credit union spurns myth' Repairs guitars By BILL COULTHAHD QUEBEC (CP) A revolu- tionary new credit union movement in Quebec is mak- ing a double-edged attack on social problems by dismissing interest charges and pay- ments as a "capitalist myth." Andre Laurin, founder of La Caisse d'Economie des Tra- vailleurs Reunis (the Uniled Workers' Saving ex- plains its function as the crea- tion of "social property." The movement, with four federated credit unions and 51.8-milljon dollars in savings under its administration so far, differs from conventional credit unions in paying no in- terest on deposits. But it uses the buying power created by the union of its members to provide every- thing from life insurance to new cars at substantial dis- count. Its most ambitious imnicdi ate objective is to build hous- ing for its members, who will pay the costs of their homes but without mortgage interest and without full title to them. A. conventional mortgage at per cent would cost a month for 20 years. But Mr. Laurin says the no- interest homes will enable a person to "buy1 a house at 542 a month per value, or a month over 20 years to pay for a "Tliat enables us to revalue in a spectacular manner Hie salary you Mr. Laurin says. PAYS UPKEEP When the homeosraer has paid for the tome he pays only costs of upkeep, taxes and other costs of ownership. But he is not allowed to dis- pose of it, exceot to will it to his wife or a direct descend- ant. If lie leaves the housing project, the home reverts to the project, which Mr. Laurin describes as a kibbutz, say- ing: "The caisse has as it's objective the building of a new society, a just society." The plan is so idealistic that Mr. Laurin was greeted with scepticism when, as director of the Confederation of Na- tional Trade Unions con- sumer and co-operatives serv- ice, he proposed it. But the "mother-caisse" he formed in Quebec City less than two years ago has grown to members and lias savings placed with it. In addition, the no-interest type of credit union now ex- ists in Joliette, St. Jerome and Montreal and the Quebec City uirjon has four branches. The savings placed with all no-interest credit unions in the province total PLANS AMBITIOUS While one edge of weapon for social change works directly to "revalue" the income of members, Mr. Laurin hopes ths oLher will put pressure for social change in the larger society outside the movement. His objective is to have 22 federated no-interest credit unions which one day will have the capital to build SO.OW housing units. "We're convinced that at (hat point we become politi- he said. "Everyone will see them (the every- one will know about them; everyone will want to have one." But because the movement will never be able to finance homes for all ils members, most people will not be able to have one. "At that point you create a political Mr. Laurin says. "And you force the gov- govern- ment it may be, Creditiste, Parti Quehecois, Liberal, Union Nationale, NDP, it doesn't force it to revise its social housing poli- cies. "That's what we want." CARS AT DISCOUNT the housing projects are still in the future, the credit unions have already es- tablished about 20 co-opera- tive food counters which oper- ate at cost. One in the Abitibt region of northwestern Qucbic has in sales weekly. Through negotiated agree- ments v.'ith local auto distribu- tors, the caisses Pra to buy cars on behalf of the members at fleet prices, giv- ing discounts of in to Three-quarters of all makes o! automobiles can be obtained through the agreements. By acting as agent in the sale of insurance, the caisses provide life, auto, and fire in- surance at cost, and the elimi- nation of commissions 'cuts the price up to 50-per cent. The of these services are paid from the only inter- est that enters into the pic- ture. Members who borrow from the credit union are charged 12 per cent on their loans, the. same rate as for a consumer loan at the bank and much cheaper than finance com- pany rates. AIMS AT FOOD PLANTS Eventually Mr. Laurin wants to break into produc- tion, p r o b a b ly setting up food-processing plants at first, with direct buying from farm- ers. And eventually he hopes the movement may be able to es- tablish co-operative industrial David Newton checks the interior of a priceless 16th century French guitar which he has been asked to restore. Dovid, 31, runs o thriving music below a small workshop in South London, England. has been working in Ihe field of stringed musical Instru- ments since ho lefl school 12 years ogo. production, as has been done In Spain by a Basque co-oper- ative group. Dr a w i n g on Yugoslavian ideas of workers' control, all aspects of t'.ie movement would be self-managed by the workers. This already exists in the caisses themselves, with credit union workers meeting once a week to decide man- agement questions and elect- ing their own supervisor once a year. Policy questions, Mr. Laurin emphasized, are de- cided by members at regular meetings, and the employees' management decisions deter- mine only how to apply the policies. Fantastic view The view is fantastic, and so is the drop at Pulpit Rock in Norway's lyse Fjord. It is feel down lo water level at Iho high poinl near Slavanger. SIMPSONS Sears pring of 73'- a new you Teach yourself the gentle art of self-expression! TaVa sn exciling belt of fashion, add a NMIe swagger, (of chic then lop It off wi1l> a lot ol panache. And there you arfc expressing yourself and looking marvellous. Clever glrll Getting It In the bag Smashing fashion bags showing off [n looVssott and or newly dull. i.ea1her-loo> irelhane by Cabrelll. AH vinyl lined Zesty colours of Ref, White. Navy, Tan, Bono or Blacfc. short shoulder flap. Turnlock closing. x 10 Imporlcd Italian lock. e-Adjustabfe shoulder lop lip. 13V4" x d-Doubla frame swagger. x 9vr. 51R Spring hffd-drejsingl E-Very rvaUy! fell brim. While, Navy, plus pastels- l-Turban's darilingl VVhiie. Assorted Soft acrylic feiiey. Beautlfulfy B chch! wida wTiite vinyl with colourful braid. Oval buckle. wids Gucci design iuedfl leather belt. Oblong buckle. }5 k-ivr suede leather bell. Slide buchfe has tucde inlay. t5 Buckles come in silver colour or gold co'our metal. Bells in pastels or Black, Bone, Tan or White. Sizes S.M.I. Acceijorfei STORE HOURS, Open Daily a.m. to p.m. Thursday and Friday a.m. 9 p.m. C.n.re Viltafl. Moll. Telephone 328-923T ;