Last month I watched the fantastic BBC eight-part series of Les Misérables on CBC Gem.
The miniseries is not based on the celebrated musical but rather the darker offering of Victor Hugo’s novel on 19th century urban France as it was on the cusp of revolution. Observing the working-class characters’ brutal lives got me thinking about “free time.”
Ninety years ago, John Maynard Keynes figured we’d be working just 30 hours a week by 2030. Our problem, he surmised, would be a surplus of free time.Read more
Lindsay was in the spotlight yesterday when TVO’s flagship show, The Agenda, was in town filming a special basic income episode.
The crew chose the Pie Eyed Monk on Cambridge Street to tape the show, which is still under development as a craft brewery and restaurant.
The three panelists (from left to right) who participated were Mike Perry, executive director of the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team, Zita Devan, founder of A Place Called Home in Lindsay, and Roderick Benns, publisher of The Lindsay Advocate and communications specialist for Basic Income Canada Network. Host Steve Paikin is in the centre.Read more
Progressive Conservative MPP, Julia Munro, says the very nature of work is changing so rapidly that societies are having difficulty figuring out how to respond.
Munro, who is the PC critic for the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, says the “nature of work has changed so much.”
“Everything has always been pinned on our work – our employment. It’s the way we have defined ourselves for so long,” she says.Read more
By Robin Boadway and Roderick Benns
For too many years Canada has danced around what is perhaps the central issue in social policy development. What are the most basic needs of Canadian citizens?
If one were to read a recent report from the Mowat Centre called Working Without a Net: Rethinking Canada’s Social Policy in the New Age of Work one wouldn’t think it was money.
The new report written by Sunil Johal and Jordann Thirgood attempts to make sense of of the real problems facing labour markets in a thorough way, particularly the increasingly precarious nature of work.Read more
By Kate McFarland
Canadian journalist Roderick Benns, publisher of the progressive news site Leaders and Legacies, has devoted much of the past two years to interviewing experts on basic income–with a focus on the possibility of a basic income in Canada.
On the basis of the material accumulated in this time, Benns has now produced a 290-page book on basic income, Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World, which is now available for purchase through Amazon.Read more
Roderick Benns, publisher of Leaders and Legacies, spent nearly two years interviewing prominent leaders and academics across Canada on the merits of a basic income guarantee, hoping to help put the policy on the radar of politicians across the country.
A basic income (also known as a guaranteed annual income) would ensure no one ever drops below the poverty line. It ensures everyone an income sufficient to meet basic needs and live with dignity, regardless of work status.
Articles appeared on Benns’ independent, non-partisan news site, Leaders and Legacies, over a two-year period. After gathering all of the articles and question and answer sessions together, Benns says he realized he had more than 70,000 words and a 290-page book to share – Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World. The book is available exclusively through Amazon.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 Roderick Benns
A family doctor says basic income policy represents an acknowledgment “of the right to live a decent life.”
Dr. Danielle Martin, a family physician and Vice President Medical Affairs and Health System Solutions at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, says increasing social assistance amounts would not achieve that goal because of the punitive way the welfare system operates.
“Rather than loading all kinds of rules onto people about their eligibility and policing their behaviour,” basic income allows for the living of a decent life that “decouples income support from complex eligibility rules.”Read more
By Roderick Benns, Waterloo Region Record
Social justice thinker R.W. Connell once said: "Statistically speaking, the best advice I would give to a poor child eager to get ahead in education is to choose richer parents."
Connell's advice goes beyond education, though. Income connects not only to education outcomes, but to our very health and wellness. That's why it was heartening to hear federal Health Minister Jane Philpott speak recently of "social inequity" as the greatest barrier to improving health for Canadians. In her recent remarks to the Canadian Medical Association, Philpott cited "social factors" as a key issue that needs to be addressed to improve health.
This is the primary reason we must move forward with a basic income guarantee for Canadians.Read more
By Roderick Benns
It might not be surprising to learn that in Tuktoyaktuk, a community of about 900 people on the edge of the Arctic Circle, life isn’t easy.
About 79 percent of the people who live there are Inuit. In 2012, 21 percent of the population received support in the form of income assistance. A full 85 percent live in subsidized housing.
Known simply as ‘Tuk’ to the locals, for generations the village was only accessible by plane in the summer and ice road in the winter. (The village will finally be linked by a two-lane, all-season road by next year – an extension of the Dempster Highway to Inuvik south of Tuk.)Read more