Last week The Intercept Brasil posted an article questioning the wisdom of the Brazilian government’s current austerity program and its proposal to essentially freeze departmental spending (having already implemented significant spending cuts) for a twenty year period by way of a constitutional amendment.
The article makes the case that a twenty year freeze is unprecedented in the global experience, and refers (somewhat positively) to the Canadian federal budgets of the 1990s as good practice models of time-limited budget control.
Basic Income Canada Network’s Alan Gummo has written a response. His edited version is republished here:
A comment to The Intercept Brasil on the Canadian austerity experience
This commentary warrants a much broader historical perspective to convey the whole story of the Canadian experience and inform the present situation in Brazil.Read more
By Joe Foster
This week, we recognized the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on Oct. 17. Unfortunately, Canadians have come to accept that poverty is inevitable. Is this true? Actually, we can indeed make poverty history. The costs to our economy and well-being are too significant to do otherwise.
Next to the weather, health care and its costs are probably the items most talked about by Canadians. There are two factors that influence our health and therefore our health costs. The first is the up-front cost (preventative health care) and the second is mopping up afterwards (generally referred to as treatment).Read more
Last month an energetic Ontario anti-poverty coalition issued a sharp critique of Ontario's social assistance policy. The Put Food in the Budget coalition condemned government consultations and studies as "diversionary tactics" and "empty promises."
The activists want welfare rates raised. While certainly necessary, tinkering with a wholly dysfunctional system is far from sufficient.
In his new book, Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders and a 15-hour Workweek, Dutch writer Rutger Bregman argues that social justice advocates need to turn away from gloom-and-doom and what he describes as "underdog" activism.
By Roderick Benns
The Basic Income Waterloo Region group in Ontario will be taking their message about basic income to a smaller centre tomorrow night – the village of New Dundee.
The coordinator of the local network, John Green, says they are “happy to be invited to talk about basic income with a more rural audience.”
“It will be a first for us. It will be interesting to hear whether they respond differently from urban audiences we have spoken with,” says Green.Read more
By Doreen Nicoll
October 16 is World Food Day. First observed in 1979, World Food Day honours the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on October 16, 1945 in Quebec, Canada.
This year’s theme, Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too, builds upon the FAO’s vision of achieving food security for all through regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.Read more
By Robert Washburn
Guaranteeing a basic income to Ontarians living below the poverty line appears to be an idea whose time has come.
And, while it may seem obvious who is going to benefit from this plan, it is not.
Starting in April 2017, a basic income program pilot project will be introduced at a cost of $25 million. The province is waiting for a report from Senator Hugh Segal regarding the implementation. It was supposed to be released in August, but was delayed.
When the Liberals announced their plan to provide a supplement to those living below the poverty line in their spring budget, it was met with the usual cries of anguish. Critics immediately pounced upon the old arguments, saying it would promote laziness and be too expensive.Read more
By Jonathan Migneault
Millions of Canadians are struggling to feed their families because of a lack of money. Ontario is exploring how a 'basic income guarantee' could help.
A national basic income guarantee would be the best way to ensure millions of Canadians are able to properly feed their families, says a University of Toronto professor.
“We have a very big problem in Canada. Our estimate is that more than four million Canadians are living in houses where they're struggling to put food on the table because of a lack of money,” said Valerie Tarasuk, a professor with the University of Toronto's Department of Nutritional Sciences.Read more
By Roderick Benns
In a recent 2015 paper, Ronald Labonte and David Stuckler argue that the rise of neoliberalism has led to bad economics which in turn has imperiled population health.
They argue that cuts to health and social protection systems under neoliberal nations (like Canada and the US) pose major health risks. As well, structural changes to a new globalized labour market has led to precarious work and rampant under-employment.
Analyses show, say the authors, that the reduction in “social protection spending” by governments were found “to be the main cause of increases in poverty and inequality” in affected countries. By increasing or failing to reduce inequality, they write, any earlier health gains were slowed down or reversed earlier gains. This affected vulnerable populations such as “the poor, rural populations, women, and children.”Read more
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?"Read more
By Kate McFarland
The Government of Ontario plans to move forward with a pilot study of a basic income guarantee, to begin by April 2017.
On September 20, four researchers — Evelyn L. Forget (Professor of Economics at the University of Manitoba), Dylan Marando (PhD Student at the University of Toronto), Tonya Surman (founding CEO of the Centre for Social Innovation), and Michael Crawford Urban (Policy Associate at the Mowat Centre) — released a report called “Pilot Lessons: How to design a basic income pilot project for Ontario”.
“Pilot Lessons” offers recommendations to the Ontario government on the basis of previous trials of basic income guarantee programs. It also calls for a greater focus on the impact of a guaranteed income on innovation and entrepreneurship.Read more