I keep seeing different articles here and there about ‘Guaranteed Basic Income’. Long story short, the idea is to scrap social programs all together and replace them with a guaranteed monthly cheque to cover costs for food and shelter.
In theory the idea sounds great, but is it possible? In the mid-to-late 1970’s, Manitoba tried a similar pilot project in the town of Dauphin. Residents were given a basic income of up to $23,000, adjusted for interest, for a family of five.
Fast forward to today, Ontario is set to begin a basic income pilot program in the Fall with several politicians expressing interest in the project. Why all the sudden interest? Well, the labour force is changing. Steady, full-time jobs are harder and harder to come by. Gone are the days of the 9-to-5 for a lot of the population. Not to mention, benefits and health coverage. Jobs are also becoming increasingly automated. More and more jobs are being lost to robots that can do it more efficiently and more accurately. To me, that looks to be the way things are going. How does this affect our economy?
Lower wages and unstable work environments lead to less money being thrown around, which stagnates the economy. A basic monthly income can give the economy the boost it needs.
A basic monthly income will also take away the stigma of poverty and reduce healthcare costs. As more jobs are being lost to machines, corporations will still make the same profits if not more. These companies can be taxed higher to ensure the money trickles down using a basic income.
Another thought that comes to mind is wouldn’t this just mean everyone is lazy and sits around doing nothing? I believe it is actually the opposite. A guaranteed basic income gives people more freedom to commit their lives to their real passion and calling in life. Instead of having to worry about how to feed your family and being forced to work a job you soley do for money, you can now focus on working towards your personal passion in life instead of wondering where the money will come from to feed your children. It gives the world the opportunity to really put our minds to work and maybe, just maybe, collectively we can solve more of the problems our world faces by focusing on them instead of being a slave to a paycheque.
As a reporter that covers council meetings, I often here the age-old adage that the public has zero influence over government.
That may seem like the truth in the overall scheme of politics, but locally, the public needs to know that attending your municipal council meetings does have a direct impact on decisions made where you live.
Now, I know most Council Meetings in Uxbridge take place on Monday mornings and most of us have to work then. But, if you ever get the chance to go, I strongly recommend it.
You can grab an agenda of the Council Meeting on Friday Afternoon by either going to your local Township’s website or by visiting the local Municipal office. These are available for free to the public.
Not only do you get to hear what is going on in town and oversee the decisions made by council, but you can even participate.
Let’s use Uxbridge as an example since those are the council meetings I cover. During Committee meetings, there is an opportunity at the end of each committee meeting for the press and the public to voice their questions or concerns.
This is a perfect time for the public to get on the mic and either ask council questions regarding any of the topics discussed or voice any opinions, comments, or concerns to council about what they just spoke about or decided on. Now, you may not directly be able to change something right then and there, but believe me, the Councillors do hear you and really do want to represent the public when making decisions. What you say at that meeting may influence what happens at a later meeting. People do have sway.
Furthermore, because you are aware of the local issues being discussed and decided on by council, you can either voice your concerns to local media or spread the word yourself around town about an issue going on in council.
A letter of opposition can then be written about the issue at hand which has a great impact in the next council meeting. If Council is deciding on what to do with a local issue and they see enough letters supporting it or opposing the motion then they take these letters into consideration. After all, council is supposed to represent the position of the local residents.