Monique F. Leroux advocates the use of the cooperative model to promote economic growth and prosperity

    In a speech at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Annual General Meeting,
    Ms. Leroux invited chambers of commerce to support meaningful initiatives
    that would help businesses, by building on the complementary nature of
    cooperative networks

    QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board,
President and CEO of Desjardins Group, the largest cooperative financial group
in Canada, advocated the use of cooperatives to promote economic growth and
    In a speech delivered today at the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian
Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Leroux demonstrated that "cooperatives play a
decisive role in today's economy, not only in Canada, but around the world".
Referring to a list published by the International Co-operative Alliance,
Ms. Leroux presented a few impressive statistics: "The 300 largest
cooperatives in the world, all sectors combined, have a combined annual
turnover of approximately US$1 trillion, which is approximately the same as
Canada's GDP in 2007."
    Citing the strength of the international cooperative network and the
Desjardins Group network as an example, Ms. Leroux called upon the chambers of
commerce to rally together and develop this network to which they all belong,
which is a catalyst that she believes entrepreneurs cannot do without.
"Together, you have extensive knowledge of economic issues and can therefore
truly influence the economic and fiscal policies that Canada needs."
    According to the President and CEO of Desjardins Group, the challenge
common to both networks is, without a doubt, to effectively support
businesses. And in an economic climate undergoing major financial upheaval,
these challenges are numerous. Desjardins Group and the chambers of commerce
must promote initiatives that will enable businesses to deal with an aging
population, and to face the challenges of education and productivity.
    Closing with a comment-still relevant over 100 years later-made by
Alphonse Desjardins, founder of Desjardins Group, Monique F. Leroux hopes her
call to arms will be heard: "Now, more than ever, people's struggles are being
fought on the economic battlefield."

    About Desjardins Group

    Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in Canada,
with overall assets of nearly $152 billion, as at June 30, 2008. It comprises
a network of caisses, credit unions and business centres in Québec and
Ontario, and some twenty subsidiary companies in life and general insurance,
securities brokerage, venture capital and asset management, many of which are
active across the country. Drawing on the expertise of its 40,000 employees
and the commitment of more than 6,500 elected officers, Desjardins offers its
5.8 million individual and corporate members and clients a full range of
financial products and services. Its physical distribution network is
complemented by leading-edge virtual access methods. To find out more, consult

For further information:

For further information: (for journalists only): Nathalie Genest,
Advisor, Information and Media Relations, (514) 281-7275, 1-866-866-7000, ext.

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