By Roderick Benns
Publisher of Leaders and Legacies, a social purpose news site
Five Newfoundland mayors representing some of the largest centres on the island have endorsed basic income policy as a means of drastically reducing poverty.
St. John’s mayor, Dennis O’Keefe, Corner Brook mayor, Charles Pender, Mount Pearl mayor, Randy Simms, Gander mayor, Claude Elliott, and Grand Falls-Windsor mayor, Al Hawkins have all agreed that “everyone in my city/community should be able to access a basic income guarantee.”
Canadian mayors were invited to complete a national survey by Leaders and Legacies, in order to gauge municipal level support for a basic income guarantee policy.
A common definition of a basic income guarantee ensures everyone an income sufficient to meet basic needs and live with dignity, regardless of work status. It involves a regular, reliable distribution of money from government to people to help ensure total income sufficient to meet common, basic needs.
Mayor O’Keefe, of St. John’s, says in the survey that a basic income policy “is something all Canadians should support.”
“It will be a tremendous help to many Canadians, men, women and children who live on the economic edge,” he adds.
Mayor Simms of Mount Pearl notes that when governments are ready to set up a basic income policy, they should know “how it impacts the labour force and wage rates.”
While acknowledging it would improve economic outcomes he is somewhat worried that it would reduce job opportunities and be demotivating.
Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Hawkins notes that “with an aging demographic, many of our seniors are facing serious financial challenges and are unable to meet their basic needs.”
Hawkins says the policy would enable seniors to live without stress of meeting their financial obligations and give them some freedom to “do the things that they once enjoyed” but were prevented from because of a lack of income.