The venue - Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - was off the beaten track, and a good thing too. For the overriding purpose of the 2005 National Conference on CED and the Social Economy was to explore how we loosen the boundaries within our communities and between the movement and its natural allies. Can CED and the Social Economy include the powerful as well as the marginal?
"Inclusiveness is a basic tenet of CED and the Social Economy. Their practitioners revolt against development practices that ignore groups of people, towns, whole regions in the race for quantity, economy, convenience, and profit. They challenge the notion that wise economic decisions can be made without reference to social and environmental factors, and that effective social or environmental initiatives can exclude the economic side of life.
"But inclusiveness has also become a big strategic issue â€¦. many practitioners now consider alliances with major public and private institutions to be critically important to the success of the community sector. Such alliances are the key to resources and recognition that can turn CED and Social Economy from a fringe festival into a main event on the national stage.
"Finding the ways and means to include both the powerful and the marginalized, without loss of the movement's essentially revolutionary character, was the deeper question that delegates were having to probe in Sault Ste. Marie."