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June 06, 2007


Nikki Payne

So does MEC purchase and sell products made in China?



Yes we do. For a detailed analysis of our sourcing patterns including what we buy from China go here

Andrew McNeill

It might seem that I'm jumping on the bandwagon what with so many stories in the media about Chinese-made toys, but I'm not. I'm more concerned, in this instance, about the broader implications of sourcing products from countries with a history of flagrant human-rights abuses.

As a retailer and manufacturer, I understand the complications of remaining competitive and relevant in what’s become the Wal-Mart world of cheapest at any cost. My wife and I, my parents, her parents and our siblings and children do not shop at MEC because of pricing. We do not go to MEC looking for cheap deals. To us, it is a fountain of knowledge and filled with passion. MEC is about as organic and wholesome a large retail operation can be, or at least that is the well-cultivated image that it has. For us, shopping at MEC is the equivalent of buying my groceries at the local farmer’s market. Connected. Responsible. Holistic.

Sourcing in China is arguably little different than sourcing in Burma. Both address political dissent with violent, fatal oppression. China, no matter how many smiles they put on, is still a deeply communist country that regularly and routinely imprisons it’s own (and other’s) citizens for actions and activities you and I take for granted. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not convinced that North American capitalist democracy is an essential component of freedom, but free expression certainly is.

By spending our money in China, we give our silent approval to the actions of the Chinese government. We support the alleged harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners. We approve of mowing down student political activists with tanks. When we spend our money in China, we’re saying that it is more important to appease our own greed than to stand firm for what we hold as truth in our own lives.

For obvious reasons, my family does it’s level best to avoid supporting regimes we would not be willing to live under ourselves. As a result of that, while we will continue to happily spend our money with MEC, we will never knowingly buy a product that is made in China. This statement, and indeed my entire letter are not meant to chastise MEC for buying in China, but to support those that would stop it.

Andrew McNeill
Calgary, Alberta


Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your valid comments. Nicely articulated.


Ken Laing

I noticed today on the MEC website that some of the men's underwear is made in Israel. Until Israel ends its occupation of Palestine I feel MEC should not be doing business with it. Amnesty Intenational cites that over 2000 Palestinians have been killed by Isreali Defence Forces since 2000, while thousands more have been arbitrarily detained.

As well, since 2000, 3000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed and agricultural land has been siezed. This is on top of all of the illegal settlements that have been built on Palestinian soil.

Please reconsider any business with Israel until it ends the illegal occupation.


Hi Ken,

Thanks about your remarks concerning Israel and Palestine. There are serious human rights issues there, as there are in every country we source from in the developing world.

Check out my comment about the above point at this link

Gary Lyon

I could not easily find on this web site the value of Chinese-sourced goods as a percentage of MEC's total sourced goods. Let me assume that it is significant and probably increasing. In light of the Tibet and Darfur sitautions and the imperceptible 'progress' evident in China's respect for human rights, I believe it's time that MEC established 'knock-out' scenarios whereby a country's lack of progress on this criteria is - in itself- sufficent grounds to drop that country as a sourcing option. At a minimum, as a co-operative, I believe members have the right to engage MEC management meaningfully (and vice-versa) on this subject ASAP. Gary Lyon (Member) - Barrie, ON


Hi Gary,

Thanks for your thoughts on China. It is regrettable what is happening there.

Members do have a right to engage MEC management on this matter. MEC is governed by an elected Board. Our AGM is approaching whereby resolutions are reviewed and voted on. Our entire structure is arranged so that members can shape the direction of MEC. Visit this link to understand how you can shape our direction.


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