Has the basic income idea been debunked? Not so fast

Andrew Coyne

The Globe and Mail

The concept of a basic income – combining several existing income and social supports into a single, income-tested but otherwise unconditional cash benefit – has been debated for more than 200 years.

It has drawn support, and criticism, from across the political spectrum, attacked or praised as either utopian socialism or minimal-state libertarianism. But has the whole debate just been settled?

You’d think so, to judge from some of the responses to the recent report of the British Columbia Expert Panel on Basic Income. It’s not hard to see why. The report’s authors are all highly regarded economists. 

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Basic income is needed to underpin a fairer society

Jamie Cooke

The year 2020 has demonstrated why the expression “May you live in interesting times” is seen as a curse. As the world reeled under the loss of life, economic impacts and the removal of opportunities many of us have taken for granted, the desire to move back to more stable times has appeared attractive.

Yet the chaos we continue to live through also offers us a chance to reimagine the world we live in — to challenge the dominant presumptions we entered the pandemic with, and to implement new policies to ensure we build forward better.

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Submission to the 2021 Federal Pre-Budget Consultations -- Basic Income Canada Network recommendations

We welcome the opportunity to contribute to this budget. We are making income security proposals towards the goal of economic recovery for all.

It is a tragic reality that, despite lofty rhetoric, people are being left behind and pushed out of the economy. Their numbers are growing due to the financial strain of the pandemic combined with the cracks in Canada’s social protection systems that COVID-19 has exploited. People who thought they were middle-class are now facing hardship they never imagined. For people disadvantaged long before the pandemic hit, the situation continues to worsen. Income and wealth inequality are widening. Trauma is building. That is not the path to a better future.

All orders of government face mounting social and economic problems and costs if they don’t reverse these trends. Waiting is dangerous.

The federal CERB instinct was correct—financial crisis requires cash. Its design had flaws but they are solvable. The knowledge gained through programs and studies over the years can be used to design a simpler, unconditional basic income guarantee that is available to Canadians when and as they need it. It prevents financial challenges from becoming full-blown crises, enabling people to more readily transition to better situations in their health, education, family, work, and community life. It supports local economies, where income is spent and where businesses need customers to survive. It also acts as a stabilizer and stimulus for the larger economy. 

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Green Party leader, BICN chair, Marinescu hold panel discussion on basic income

Annamie Paul, Green Party leader of Canada, Elizabeth May, former Green Party leader and MP, Sheila Regehr, chair of the Basic Income Canada Network, Paul Manly, Green Party MP, and Floyd Marinescu, executive director of UBI Works took part in a Facebook Live panel discussion today on basic income. 

To watch the discussion click here.


Pressure mounts on Ottawa to fund basic-income pilot in P.E.I.

iPolitics

Support for a basic income may be shifting from one end of the country to the other.

Four senators are the latest leaders to say they’re in favour of a guaranteed, livable basic income on Prince Edward Island, with Ottawa’s help.

A special all-party committee of the P.E.I. legislature urged the provincial government late last year to begin negotiating with Ottawa for money to test-drive a guaranteed basic income.

Three senators from P.E.I. — Sens. Diane Griffin, Brian Francis, and Mike Duffy, as well as Ontario Sen. Kim Pate — sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and P.E.I. Premier Dennis King last week calling not just for a pilot program, but a nationwide guaranteed basic income, starting on the island.

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Lakehead study examines the impact of cancelling Ontario's Basic Income Pilot

Thunder Bay Newswatch

It will likely come as no surprise to recipients of the now-cancelled Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP) program that a study has found the program was significantly helpful.

Its benefits, however, were reversed when the project was axed by a new government.

A Lakehead University social work professor led a research team that investigated the impacts, and is now making its findings public.

The planned three-year pilot was announced by the provincial government in 2017 and was subsequently rolled out in several communities including the Thunder Bay area.

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Pandemic Hurdles for Basic Income

SocialCanada.org

On January 18, I participated in a webinar organized by the office of Senator Kim Pate, for politicians and stakeholders interested in a Basic Income for Canadians. Several well-known and highly-respected speakers took part, including former senators Hugh Segal and Art Eggleton, Murray Sinclair,  Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Graham Fox, CEO of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, Professor Evelyn Forget, and the Chair of Basic Income Canada Network, Sheila Regehr.

Everyone endorsed the concept and discussed how it could be implemented, pointing out that it would help to “build back better” after the pandemic. 

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