The Editor’s Post: Remembering David LePage

Our editor reflects on meeting David LePage, a true champion of social enterprise, who died in May. Plus we consider the global significance of the EU elections. This week’s view from the Pioneers Post newsroom.

The Pioneers Post team members were deeply saddened to learn about the recent death of David LePage. We’ve reported on his work supporting the social enterprise movement in Canada and around the world for many years.

In spite of this, I’d never met him in person until the Social Enterprise World Forum 2023, which took place in Amsterdam in October. David and his wife Kim Boutilier happened to be on the same tour of local social enterprises as I was. He was a lot tinier and quieter than I imagined this giant of the social enterprise landscape would be, nattily dressed in trainers, jeans and a pullover. 

As our tour group progressed around enterprises including Chocolatemakers, United Repair Centre and Recycle, David asked gently probing questions, and smiled a lot. My impressions of him as being full of warmth, wisdom and humour match many of the thoughts that his colleagues and friends have shared since his death was announced. 




One of the subjects that I spoke to David about, as his (probably long overdue retirement) was approaching, was how we could make the most of the knowledge and expertise of the ‘grandparents’ of the movement. Too often, we’re seduced by what’s new or innovative, while forgetting that our elders may have already found a solution to the same problem in the 1960s. (Incidentally, this is one of the reasons that Pioneers Post exists: to share insights into what works – and what doesn’t – among our audiences. Just one good reason to subscribe now.) 

While the social enterprise community has lost a great champion, David’s legacy will undoubtedly live on. As Elizabeth Chick Blount, CEO of Buy Social Canada, says: “With his sudden and heartbreaking passing, we are taking time to grieve, but this is also a collective call to action to continue his good work forward to fight for marketplace revolution.”


European elections are open

Between Thursday and Sunday this week, 373m voters have the opportunity to choose the members of the next European Parliament. At Pioneers Post we’ve been reporting on the support that the social economy has received in recent years at a European level through the Social Economy Action Plan spearheaded by Nicolas Schmit, and other initiatives relating to corporate sustainability and impact.

Our columnist in Brussels, the Euclid Network’s Toby Gazeley writes this week that Europe’s future direction is currently unknown, although emphasis on the green transition is almost certain to be dialled down. Also interesting is a point that Toby made to our reporter Estelle Uba  – that the EU’s key role in global activities to develop the social economy may also be under threat. 



This week's top stories

Tributes to David LePage highlight his wisdom, leadership and commitment to social justice

Brussels Briefing: What the EU elections could mean for social enterprise

The Impact World this Week: 6 June 2024


Header photo: David LePage and his wife Kim Boutilier (far right) taking part in a tour of social enterprises at the Social Enterprise World Forum 2023, hosted by Amsterdam Impact. Photo by Tom Feenstra