Sudbury conference exploring basic income guarantee

By Mary Katherine Keown

The Sudbury Star

A conference underway in Sudbury is looking at the idea of a basic income for all Ontarians, which proponents say would alleviate poverty and would actually improve the province's bottom line.

Charles Cirtwill, president and CEO of the Northern Policy Institute, was clear the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) conference leans neither right nor left.

"That's the beautiful thing about discussing basic income," he said. "Both sides on occasion over the past 100 years or so have supported it. ... You've got people like Adam Smith and others who've talked about it. This is how do you attack poverty, how do you attack income insecurity and how do you do it in the most efficient and cost-effective way?"

On the right, they hate government waste. On the left, as Cirtwill pointed out, people tend to dislike the labels and stigmas attached to being poor.

"In theory, this (BIG) is not a bad idea, but as we're discovering, the devil is always in the details," he added.

The Northern Policy Institute is hosting the conference at the Hellenic Centre to explore the issues surrounding basic income and to think about how to implement it.

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