News 2014/1/21

In Memory of Dr. Ian MacPherson

Dr. Ian MacPherson in Hiroshima, Japan, February 2013Dr. Ian MacPherson passed away suddenly on November 16th, 2013. He was 74 years old. A special service of remembrance was held at the University Club in the University of Victoria at 11:00 am on January 18, 2014. The Seikatsu Club Consumers’ Cooperative Union (SCCCU) sent a message of condolence to his university and his son, and in lieu of flowers, sent a donation to the Ian MacPherson Legacy Fund* at the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada.

* A scholarship fund in memory of the late Dr. Ian MacPherson established by the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF), in partnership with the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and the Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation (CASC). The purpose of the Ian MacPherson Legacy Fund is to provide university students with support for conference travel, research and engagement with the co-operative sector.

Dr. MacPherson is known as a leading disciple of Alexander Laidlaw, who wrote “Co-operatives in the Year 2000,” commonly known as the “Laidlaw Report.” He was a world figure as an historian but also an activist in the world of co-operative enterprises. He took a leading role in creating the Canadian Co-operative Association, was the co-founder of CASC (the Canadian Association for the Study of Co-operation), and chair of the International Co-operative Alliance committee that revised the co-operative principles in 1995.

He founded the BC Institute for Co-operative Studies (BCICS) in the year 2000 and worked as its director. The Centre became a prime source of scholarly material as well as support for practitioners in co-operative undertakings. In the same year, he was invited to Japan as keynote speaker for the “International Cooperative Symposium” organized by SCCCU.

After that, he came to Japan twice on invitations from the Seikatsu Club and made vigorous field trips to Seikatsu Clubs and workers' collectives. He was in Japan most recently in February 2013 to speak at the third symposium of the "Cooperative Forum: Expanding the Field of Activities of Co-operatives," which was co-organized by the Green Coop Consumers' Cooperative Union, the Consumers’ Financial Cooperative, and SCCCU.

A Message of Condolence from SCCCU President, Koichi Kato

Everyone was very surprised and extremely sad to hear that Ian suddenly passed away. He has been a great mentor and dear friend since the Seikatsu Club Consumers’ Co-operative Union first invited Ian in 2000 as a main speaker at the “International Cooperative Symposium” in Tokyo. We still cannot believe this sudden tragic event because he looked very energetic and healthy when we invited him again to our conference just this last February.

Ian was always very warm and friendly and had a dry sense of humor. We always felt that his personality was highly cooperative and was based on his steadfast reliance and respect toward other people. When he came to Japan just this last February, we guided him around the areas which were badly affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami which followed. Ian sincerely listened to the survivors with respect when they talked about their efforts to rebuild their daily life through cooperation in spite of the fact that they had suffered the loss of their beloved families and friends. We felt that his actions and behavior reflected his profound integrity and respect toward other people.

Ian always encouraged us and kept us motivated. He would never forget to make us smile with his lovely jokes.

We really miss him already and there is not anyone who can replace him. Ian will be our mentor forever. The cooperative identity, value, and principles which Ian worked to elaborate in 1995 will continue to be our guide and we are now more determined than ever to keep on working as cooperators.

With Our Sincere Sympathy,

Koichi Kato