Jean-Yves Duclos, federal minister of families, children and social development, stated to both CBC Radio and the Globe and Mail last week that a guaranteed minimum income is a policy worthy of discussion, once the promised enhancements to child tax benefits occur — an existing kind of minimum income for families with children.
By Robin Boadway and Roderick Benns
As basic income policy gets more press as a way to drastically reduce poverty, inevitably there will be those who seek to preserve the status quo approach.
This has served us inadequately for many years and yet there are some believers who remain. These same believers often seek to create false policy choices, as Armine Yalnizyan has done in her recent offering to the Star, ‘Basic income? How about basic services?’Read more
By Robin Boadway, Alan Gummo, and Roderick Benns
Andrew Coyne gets many things right about a basic income guarantee, writing this analysis for the National Post recently.
He gets that a basic income would not replace social insurance programs like Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan. He also gets, albeit with undue pessimism, that the provinces need to be involved. He acknowledges that the level of the guaranteed annual income program proposed by the Macdonald Royal Commission was inadequate, and he implicitly accepts that a basic income of reasonable scope could be afforded by combining the appropriate basic benefit amount with a suitable rate of claw-back as incomes rise. He even observes that a basic income need not deter work incentives; on the contrary, it will be enhanced compared with existing welfare schemes.Read more
By Roderick Benns
As a youth, Tommy Douglas was a championship boxer. His success in the ring is all the more remarkable considering that years earlier he had nearly lost his leg to amputation when an infection set in.
As his many biographers point out, a travelling surgeon agreed to operate for free, as long as his parents consented to allow his medical students to watch. After several operations, he not only walked again, he thrived as an amateur boxer and then built his reputation as someone who fought for the underdog in the political arena as well.
Douglas never forgot his childhood experience and resolved that no one should have to pay for necessary medical care. His efforts are now celebrated within Canada’s history, for not only did he establish Medicare, he also established democratic socialism within the country and its politics.Read more
By Roderick Benns
The federal Liberals have voted to shake-up Canada’s social policy by moving toward a “minimum guaranteed income” model.
At the party’s national convention just held in Winnipeg, the resolution states the party will, in consultation with the provinces, “develop a poverty reduction strategy aimed at providing a minimum guaranteed income.”
Reaction from the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) was swift.Read more
Roderick Benns recently interviewed Sylvain Henry, a trained biochemist, inventor, and recruiter who is trying to create new opportunities for the Canadian business community with his 10-week ‘business trek.’
Benns: Tell us a little about your business trek.
Henry: Businesstrek is a 10-week bus trek across Canada to “blaze a trail for business tourism” that will boost the Canadian economy from the ground up. The primary goal of the trek is to discover, attract and create new opportunities for Canadian businesses and individuals, and then share this bounty online and during these travels.Read more
Roderick Benns recently interviewed Michael Schmidt, a Canadian entrepreneur, chemist and engineer. He was previously the founder and CEO of Listn, a mobile music startup based in Los Angeles California before its multimillion dollar acquisition by Robert Sillerman’s SFX Entertainment. He is now the CEO of Dovetale.com, a partner at PurifAid, a board member of K-Swiss and a member of the Canadian Leadership Committee for the G20.
Benns: From your perspective as an entrepreneur, why is the concept of a basic income guarantee useful to society?
Schmidt: Basic income is all about voice. Some people want more while some people want less. By guaranteeing everyone has the absolute minimum you can guarantee, as a nation that the basic needs of life are met. It’s a win-win for the market and those who are in the market. It’s a fundamental improvement on capitalism and even democracy, because everyone now has a minimum amount of voice.Read more
Roderick Benns recently interviewed Michael Vertolli, a PhD student at Carleton University who studies artificial intelligence in relation to human cognition. He believes that basic income is one of the only ways to move forward in a future of large-scale automation.
Benns: What is the connection between automation and basic income? Why should we be considering this social policy change based on automation trends — hasn’t this always been predicted and yet we still seem to have jobs?
Vertolli: The short answer is that the belief that “we still seem to have jobs” is a misleading perception held by people whose jobs have yet to get significantly affected. This means it is held by people in the middle-class range with medium-difficulty jobs that require one to think. The problem is systems like AlphaGo, Google’s Artificial Intelligence that just beat the world champion at Go, demonstrate that even these tasks can now be learned by sufficiently powerful AIs.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
By Roderick Benns
Publisher of Leaders and Legacies, a social purpose news site.
We are told by educators and business leaders today that we need to be nimble for the job market. We are told that in a world with no borders, having an entrepreneurial mindset is the key – a remedy for all the contract work and ‘tasks’ that now masquerade as jobs.
We haven’t been told lies – this is all well and true. But we aren’t being told the whole truth, either.
The truth is that having such an attitude and stance is not enough. For most, there will be many times when one contract ends and another won’t begin seamlessly.Read more