By Terrance Hunsley
*Editor's note: This column is the view of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Basic Income Canada Network.
Since the election of the Trudeau government, there has been increased interest in the concept of basic income (also known as guaranteed income, and negative income tax). The confluence of liberal governments in Ottawa and seven provinces, as well as two NDP governments, suggests that a political consensus may be possible to take a historic step forward. A guaranteed income, or negative income tax has been held up as a noble objective to eliminate poverty, an efficient replacement for a labyrinth of means tested and over-bureaucratized programs, and a more effective insurance system for the new economy, for a long time. It could also provide a significant offset to increasing income inequality.
By Alan Gummo
The ‘Witches of Salem’ refers to a group of people who were believed to be witches, that is, possessed by the Devil, in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1690s.
The witch stereotype became very popular and demanded a public policy response; it drove the establishment of a specialized tribunal to deal with it. Some twenty people were put to death because of it. It has since come to symbolize injustice. I could mention other policies based on other stereotypes, but there’s no need to belabour the point by dwelling on other disasters.Read more
By Solomon Israel
In Ottawa, a federal MP is pushing for government research on the subject. Ontario's provincial budget announced a pilot program to try it out. In Quebec, a cabinet minister has been assigned to study the topic.
The mayors of Calgary and Edmonton are both on board. And the Manitoba Liberals are promising their own trial if they win the April 19 provincial election.
Basic income is capturing political imaginations in Canada.Read more
By Konrad Yakabuski
The Globe and Mail
If you don’t know who (well, technically, what) Atlas is, you’d best check out this six-foot humanoid robot. He/she/it may be about to steal your job. Its creator, Google-owned Boston Dynamics, just unveiled the latest iteration of the robot that never gives up in a video that had geeks chanting “cool,” but looked to many of us like outtakes from a futuristic horror flick.Read more
By Scott Santens
On Dec. 2, 1942, a team of scientists led by Enrico Fermi came back from lunch and watched as humanity created the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction inside a pile of bricks and wood underneath a football field at the University of Chicago. Known to history as Chicago Pile-1, it was celebrated in silence with a single bottle of Chianti, for those who were there understood exactly what it meant for humankind, without any need for words.Read more
By Laura Anderson and Danielle Martin
The so-called basic income guarantee is having a moment.
Hot on the heels of Quebec’s plan to explore the policy, it was announced that Ontario’s provincial budget included funds for a basic income pilot project. And on that very day, Senator Art Eggleton tabled a motion calling on the Senate of Canada to encourage the federal government to do the same.
By Bill Curry
Ottawa is facing new pressure to act on a basic-income guarantee after the Ontario government announced it will test the idea.
Thursday’s Ontario budget said the province will conduct a basic-income pilot to study whether providing people with a guaranteed minimum amount of income would be a more efficient and effective way to deliver social support. The project will test claims by those who say it would help the working poor and lead to savings in health care and administration.Read more
By Roderick Benns
After a groundswell of support from mayors across the province, including pressure from health units and organizations of all social policy stripes, Ontario will proceed with a basic income guarantee pilot project.
The location of the pilot has not yet been announced but the recent provincial budget document makes clear that the government pledges to “work with communities, researchers and other stakeholders in 2016 to determine how best to design and implement a Basic Income pilot.”Read more
Roderick Benns recently interviewed Toni Pickard about basic income policy. Pickard was a law professor at Queen’s University before she retired and is now the co-founder of the Kingston Action Group for a Basic Income Guarantee.
Benns: We hear often that basic income could replace the need for higher minimum wages. Many point out that with the scarcity of jobs, a better minimum wage will only reach a minority of people anyway. What do you believe?
Pickard: For me, minimum wages and basic income go together like bread and butter. Together they are wonderful. Each alone serves a purpose, but only one leaves a lot to be desired. Some recent media discussion seems premised on the view that the two are an either-or proposition. I don’t see why. They have different conceptual bases, different beneficiaries and different payers. There’s no need to choose between them.Read more
Roderick Benns recently interviewed Debra McAuslan, who advocates for basic income through her affiliation with the Kingston Basic Income group.
Benns: How did you come to be involved with the fight for a Basic Income?
McAuslan: I had heard about basic income almost 30 years ago, but did not understand poverty. I grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario. I have never personally known poverty. Naively, as a young adult, I believed everyone must have had the same experience I had. In nursing school during my psychiatry rotation I was totally overwhelmed by the prevalence of sexual abuse in the patient histories. During my nursing career, I have met people living in poverty, but seeing those living in poverty (when I had the privilege of visiting people’s homes during my years as a VON nurse) helped me to see the impact of poverty on health and the challenges of rural poverty.Read more