The 2019 Federal Election Day is set for October 21st, 2019. Between now and then there is much that we can all do to make basic income an election issue and to build relationships with candidates and voters across the political spectrum. We want to help you get started and would love to hear your ideas, too.
Many election promises will be made on issues from climate change, to growing income inequality and technological disruption. The common denominator that could determine the success or failure of any of these ideas is income security. This enables people in all walks of life to get and keep jobs, pursue education and training, overcome barriers, and improve health and wellbeing for themselves and their families.
For example, Pharmacare can lower our drug costs; basic income may help us become healthier by providing the means for healthier food and habits, and lead to a reduction in anxiety. Education is great; basic income allows us the mental bandwidth to learn, and to get by if education doesn’t translate into a good job right away. When we tackle the underlying income problem, many other problems become smaller.
Our governments already provide some Canadians with forms of basic income (such as the Canada Child Benefit), while others have almost nothing they can count on. With a national basic income, everyone can find hope and opportunity as all this change and new policy unfolds.
Over the next couple of months leading to the election, BICN will be preparing and sharing resources, ideas, and information with our network that can support our collective efforts to make basic income and election issue in 2019!
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Getting Started: What you can do
There are many things that you can do now to start supporting our election efforts. You can:
- Call or email your candidate, your riding association, or the national party office. They might also phone you—usually looking for donations. Take the opportunity to tell them how important basic income is to you and ask them to convey that message to organizers.
- Go to riding association / candidate meetings and social functions and talk to people about basic income. Bring a friend or two for moral support.
- Go a step further and request a meeting with a candidate to talk in more detail. Again, having someone else along is great, but not too many people or it might seem intimidating. If your candidate includes a policy advisor or staffer, that’s a good sign—they take notes and do research, and if something is promised they will help make it happen.
- Attend local all-candidate meetings/debates and be prepared to ask questions about basic income (see suggested questions below). You might want to contact organizers of a debate in advance and request the basic income be included on the agenda. Or you could organize a debate yourself or a local event on basic income to which candidates are invited. For these kinds of events, you do want to bring lots of company to show public support, especially if media are on hand.
- Talk to friends, neighbours, family, and co-workers. If they are basic income supporters, you don’t have to convince them of the issue so your biggest job is encouraging them to get to the polls. Politicians court votes—they appeal to seniors because seniors vote. Young people, minorities, people with low-income have votes too, but too often don’t cash in on them; votes give bargaining power.
It helps to be prepared and some material can be recommended and/or left behind for the people you meet. Again, keep the focus on what is uniquely Canadian.
‘The Basic Income We Want' - this is an excellent overview which can be printed and handed out.
- The first two modules in our Primer Series on BI
- For more depth and politically-attuned perspective, former Senator Art Eggleton’s ebook, The Case for Basic Income
- For policy detail, former Senator Hugh Segal’s recommendations to the Ontario government on a basic income pilot
- Dr. Evelyn Forget’s book, Basic Income for Canadians: the key to a healthier, happier, more secure life for all’ covers all the major issues in a very readable and human way; the book is available through many public libraries.