Proponents of Ontario’s now cancelled basic income pilot project descended on the constituency office of Liberal MP and cabinet minister Patty Hajdu on Friday afternoon, hoping she’d help convince the federal government to pick up the slack.
They left somewhat disappointed.
Hajdu told the group social assistance is under the jurisdiction of the province, and there was little she could do to convince Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford to change his mind.
On top of that, Hajdu said there may be a better way.
“I don’t know if necessarily basic income is the right approach,” she said, about 10 sign-toting advocates of the project gathered in her Red River Road office, suggesting corporations have a role to play in creating jobs that can support people and be willing to pay their fair share, while adding governments face a constant balancing act, trying to pay for services while also being fiscally responsible to the taxpayer.
Fifty-year-old Trevor Anderson made an emotional plea to Hajdu, holding back tears as he told her of his experience with the pilot project, which Ford’s government has promised to wind down by the end of March 2019.
A dyslexic who also has a plate in his hand because of a snowmobile crash, Anderson said he’s unable to hold jobs once employers learn he is unable to read or write.
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