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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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 InfoQ.com 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?

Read more

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.

Read more

Island politicians forming basic income plan for federal government

CBC News

Richard Brown is one of four Island politicians forming a guaranteed basic income plan for the federal government, despite Canada's finance minister saying "that particular idea is not part of our approach."

"I think if we are going to continue to look into this and come up with a a plan for the federal government … they'll take a look at it," Brown told CBC P.E.I.'s Compass.

Read more

Cape Breton woman could use funding bridge in form of basic income

Roderick Benns

As the flames streaked down the cement highway median, Rebecca Pallister knew she was in real trouble. Could cement actually burn? In her rear view mirror the forests surrounding Fort McMurray were falling like blackened matchsticks as she gripped her steering wheel more tightly.

It was the spring of 2016 and Canada’s oil capital was on fire.

Today, her escape from the northern Alberta town, known colloquially as ‘Fort Mac,’ is just a vivid memory. For many people who work in the oil sands industry, their roots are often from elsewhere in Canada, having been lured to the prairie province when crude prices soared.

Read more