Richard Branson says UBI may be needed to combat inequality

The Daily Mail

Eccentric billionaire businessman, Richard Branson, says he believes a 'universal basic income' could be the way of the future and he would like to see more countries experiment with the idea.

The Virgin boss says such cash handouts could be the solution to more jobs being replaced by technology.

'With the acceleration of artificial intelligence and other new technology ... the world is changing fast,' he wrote in a posting on his website. 

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New Brunswick advocate pushes his province on basic income

Roderick Benns

SHEDIAC–It was 46 years ago when Armand Bannister and his team released their white paper on social development that urged the adoption of a basic income guarantee in New Brunswick.

As director of the task force on social development, Bannister presented it to then-Premier Richard Hatfield who had just begun his unprecedented 17-year run as premier.

But Hatfield squandered this opportunity, as history shows, and instead Manitoba took the lead on basic income with the support of then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, in its well-known Mincome experiment.

New Brunswick has never looked at it seriously again, although that might be set to change, if Bannister has anything to say about it. That’s because 46 years later, the 82-year-old advocate has never given up the fight for basic income and sees a golden opportunity with the movement growing stronger than ever, from Ontario, to Prince Edward Island, to British Columbia and Quebec.

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NDP leadership hopeful says it's time to take the leap on basic income

Roderick Benns

A leadership hopeful for the NDP Party of Saskatchewan, Dr. Ryan Meili, says it’s time for Saskatchewan to “take the leap” and support a basic income guarantee.

Meili, who recently won a Saskatoon-area by-election for the NDP and is now a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), is also a medical doctor in Saskatoon. In addition, he is the founder of a progressive movement called ‘Upstream.’ While he is no longer affiliated with the non-partisan Upstream, the core tenets of the movement still inform his stance on the issues.

This includes more upstream thinking on matters of public health policy, recognizing that health is largely a result of the living conditions in which people find themselves and can therefore be improved with better policy decisions.

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Halifax poet-comedian says system is failing him

Local Express

Josh Dunn was finally getting paid for his poetry and he didn’t have to rely on his grandmother’s home-cooked meals to help him make ends meet.

Dunn had reason to be optimistic back in August 2015. His application for a $6,000 Arts Nova Scotia grant had been approved, a solid followup to the success of his one-man play in 2013.

His life was moving forward.

But the grant turned out to be something of a curse. On the one hand, it provided three months of meaningful work, but on the other, he was promptly kicked off social assistance.

Dunn would have been entitled to a percentage of his allowance if the government considered the grant part-time work.

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Newfoundland way of life deserves every chance to succeed

Roderick Benns

A stinging, light rain is in the air in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. A white fishing trawler edges up to the dock and immediately there is a bustle of activity.

One man is below deck organizing the day’s catch while another man, above, eases up a basket of cod from the belly of the boat, out onto the dock. There it is swiftly dragged a few feet to an outbuilding, where the fish are set up for filleting and preparing.

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Basic income will unleash opportunities, says Toronto-based CEO

Roderick Benns recently interviewed Floyd Marinescu about basic income, a Toronto-based CEO and co-founder of C4Media which produces and the QCon conferences. Marinescu is also an angel investor, author, and humanitarian.

Benns: Tell me a little about your early life. Where did you grow up?

Marinescu: I was born and raised in Toronto and still live here. My parents were immigrants who fled from communist Romania in the 1970s. I grew up in a fairly poor, working class family, with an atmosphere that was somewhat typical of right-wing, eastern European immigrants’ views of the ills of government control, taxes, and the police state. What I came to realize in my exploration of basic income is that it will prevent the conditions that led to communism and other revolutions like it. I think basic income reduces socialism, too, as it promotes real republican freedom as economist Guy Standing points out. You reduce the size of government programs with efficient cash transfers, and you replace government behavioral interference in the lives of the poor and instead give people the resources for greater choice, freedom, and safety.

Benns: What was the turning point for you in your acceptance of basic income as a valuable policy tool?

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The poor need a guaranteed income, not charity

The Walrus

Nutritionist and food-security expert Valerie Tarasuk recalls the meeting, early on in a five-year-long research project, when she and her fellow researchers reached the point of mind-numbing exhaustion that made civil discourse nearly impossible. It had become clear to them that the way Canadians talked about the prevalence of hunger—mostly framed in terms of food bank use—was missing the point. They needed some way to communicate the severity of the problem as they saw it. But would the public pay any attention to a purely descriptive report based on data gleaned from the “bowels of Stats Canada”?

The answer, it turned out, was yes.

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