By John Rondina
Carole Anne Knapp, recently took up a placard and marched out onto Beckwith Street in her Ontario home town of Smith Falls. She wanted to raise awareness about basic income, and Smiths Falls’ vote on Ontario’s basic income pilot. City council had decided it didn’t even want to be in the running for the pilot, and that didn’t make sense to Knapp.
Her sense of how basic income could help the people of Smiths Falls comes from her own personal experience as a caregiver.
“I’ve been an advocate for basic income for years,” she says.
“I lived with my mom when she had cancer,” she explains. “I was her caregiver. She was very sick and sleeping a lot. I got online and stumbled across the concept of basic income.”
Knapp says basic income seems to “address everything.”
“There is no magic pill, but this is the closest thing to a magic pill there is,” she says, believing that money flowing into the community can only help.
Knapp says she couldn’t understand the result of the councillors’ vote:
“I felt the council didn’t grasp things,” she says, referring to the Ontario government’s basic income guarantee pilot. She didn’t want to let the opportunity pass to inform people about what basic income was, and the opportunity it could bring to Smiths Falls.
“I wanted to generate attention. So I created a placard laden with information about Basic Income. I wanted people in Smiths Falls to know what was going on,” she says.
Knapp also started a petition to present to council.
“It’s ludicrous,” she says, referring to council’s decision to vote the motion down. “I bet most businesses don’t know about the pilot or basic income.”
Armed with a petition for them to revisit their decision, she talked to as many people as she could in the business community. She believed they would understand if someone took the time to present the proper information to them.
“When I went out to talk to the people, the majority of business owners said that basic income would be awesome -- that they would support it,” she says.
“They didn’t want to see other people in town do without.”
Knapp points out the pilot is going to happen anyway.
“It could have come here and benefitted our community. What people need is help.”
She is optimistic that the people of Smiths Falls can cause council to change their vote. Knapp believes that people in the town are very supportive of one another, and thatno one should be left behind.
According to Inside Ottawa Valley, “Council discussed the matter for about 45 minutes before ultimately coming to the decision to allow a delegation to go before the province to discuss the pilot with the provincial minister in charge of the file — Helena Jaczek, the minister of community and social services.”