Save the Basic Income Pilot Project

Back in 2015, 122 Ontario doctors pressed then Ontario Liberal Minister of Health Eric Hoskins to adopt Basic Income because income (or lack thereof) is a serious health issue.   The Wynne Government took its sweet time about it, and I have no doubt at all their Basic Income Pilot was intended to result in re-election.   Still, WRGreens own Stacey Danckert pointed out the last Liberal Budget provided no funding to do anything after the pilot would have ended.

During our recent provincial election campaign, the Liberal, NDP, Green, and Doug Ford’s PC Party all indicated they they would continue the Ontario Basic Income Pilot after the election.

Universal Basic Income

The idea of Universal Basic Income is actually an old one, dating back to the Fourteen Hundreds. Far from being a left wing, socialist or communist idea, the concept spans the political spectrum, no doubt in part because poverty does too. There are left (human dignity) and right (stop theft) arguments for such a system, particularly in capitalist nations like Canada that are already investing vast sums in a piecemeal social safety net that has not managed to make a dent in citizen poverty.   In Canada politicians of every political stripe have agreed we need to eliminate child poverty, and yet poverty is still with us.

Even American Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman advocated for a basic income alleviation of poverty.

"Suppose one accepts, as I do, this line of reasoning as justifying 
governmental action to alleviate poverty; to set, as it were, a floor under the 
standard of life of every person in the community."

—Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom

In his role of economic adviser to Republican President Richard Nixon, Friedman supported a negative income tax as a means of creating that floor and eliminating poverty. Had Nixon’s government not fallen in scandal, such a regime may have even been implemented in the US.

The international resurgence of interest in the idea of a Universal Basic Income gathering steam in the early 21st Century is growing fast for a host of reasons, including the collapse of manufacturing due to so called “free trade” agreements combined with the rapidly approaching decimation of the job market by ever increasing loss of human jobs through automation.

Read more about the Conservative Argument For UBI in “Four Reasons Why Conservatives And Libertarians Should Support Basic Income|Those who support limited government and free markets should support fighting poverty by giving more money to the poor” and “The Libertarian Case for a Basic Income.

All of this is why it was reasonable to take Premier Ford’s promise to continue the OLP’s Basic Income Pilot Project if his party came to power.  Whether for or against the idea, it only makes sense for any government to complete a project that has already cost the taxpayers of Ontario so much to get the data at the end of the rainbow. Any decision to take the matter further or toss it out could then be made based on facts rather than partisan rhetoric.

Sadly it seems Mr Ford prefers rhetoric. Rather than forging sound public policy in order to govern “for the people,” his new Government has opted to cancel Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot.

More than 20,000 people have signed this change.org petition asking the Ford Government to Save the Ontario Basic Income Pilot Project.  But the Ford Government isn’t listening to the people.

But all doesn’t need to be lost.

The Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction has appealed to the federal Liberal Government:

“We already have the infrastructure. They should adopt the program.”
Tom Cooper, Director, Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction

The mayors of the municipalities that have been piloting the Ontario Basic Income have likewise asked feds to take over Ontario’s basic income pilot

Federal NDP  Leader Jagmeet Singh calls on Liberals to save Ontario’s axed basic income pilot.

It isn’t exactly such a crazy idea.

The Liberal Party of Canada has a long history with Basic Income, and in fact it was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s Government  that co-authored the 5 year Mincome Pilot in Dauphin Manitoba in the 1970’s. Unfortunately, as often happens with long term projects under short sighted FPTP voting, Mr Trudeau’s Government fell and the data from the just completed pilot project was shelved and buried, only emerging for consideration many decades later.

And lately, the Federal Liberals have been flirting with the idea of Basic Income as well.

We believe there is tremendous national value in finishing this project. Every province is grappling with how to provide a strong social safety net that allows people to lead dignified lives without creating excessive administration. We are in desperate need of preventative approaches that will reduce the burden of poverty on our health care, education, and criminal justice systems.

Elizabeth May and Mike Schreiner, Schreiner and May ask Trudeau to rescue Basic Income pilot

Instead of starting their own Basic Income project from scratch, the Justin Trudeau Liberal Government need only spend $50 million dollars to complete the Ontario Basic Income Pilot project.  That would be an incredible bargain basement price for data that would prove invaluable for making federal economic policy.

What can we do to help?

We can write our own letters to the Prime Minister and our own MP (and remember– physical letters travel postage free to the federal government.)  But we can also sign every petition… like the one just begun by our friends at The Council of Canadians:

Petition: Call on the federal government to take over Ontario’s basic income pilot project.

Every little bit helps.

 

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And Then There Were 10 #NBpoli #VoteGreen

When I think back to the 2008 Election when the Federal Greens earned nearly 1 million votes but won no seats at all, it is really pretty amazing.  Elizabeth May only became the first elected Canadian Green in 2011.  She was followed by Andrew Weaver, elected in the 2013 provincial election as the first Green Party MLA in British Columbia’s history. In 2014, David Coon made history with a seat for the New Brunswick Green Party.  Next PEI Green Party Leader Peter Bevan Baker was tenth time lucky when he won his seat in 2015.  In 2017 when BC’s Andrew Weaver was re-elected, he was accompanied by two new Green MLAs, Adam Olsen, Saanich North and the Islands MLA and Sonia Furstenau, Cowichan Valley MLA.  Then, near the end of 2017, the PEI Greens Caucus was formed by Hannah Bell’s stunning by-election win.  And of course this year our own awesome Green Party of Ontario leader, Mike Schreiner, won his seat in Guelph.

Meanwhile, the PEI Greens were polling ridiculously well in January, of this year, and then even better in August.  Must have something to do with the way Greens do politics differently.

Last Night New Brunswick re-elected Green Party Leader David Coon, as well as two new Green Members of the Legislative Assembly. The new MLAs are Megan Mitton, who won her riding of Memramcook-Tantramar by 11 votes, and Kevin Arseneau elected in the riding of Kent North.

 

Congratulations @DavidCCoon@meganmitton and @kevinarseneau.

One thing I can promise: it’s not over yet.

 

The Election is On! #LetsMakeHistory

Bob Jonkman and Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner wave at passing motorists in downtown Kitchener

The Ontario Election was called on Wednesday May 9th, 2018.   The WRGreens invited Green Party Leader Mike Shreiner to join in our campaign launch

Mike Schreiner joined the Waterloo Region Greens to launch our 2018 election campaigns!
Mike gave an inspirational speech to the WRGreens candidates.Stacey Danckert (Kitchener Centre), Michele Braniff (Cambridge), Mike Schreiner (Guelph), Bob Jonkman (Kitchener-Conestoga), Zdravko Gunjevic (Waterloo) and David Weber (Kitchener South-Hespeler)and friends along with assorted news media at the Working Centre’s Fresh Ground Cafe in DownTown Kitchener.
Then we joined Mike for a stroll down King Street.
at Kitchener City Hall

The WRGreens are again setting up a shared campaign office; this time at 6 Duke Street in Kitchener.  We’ll announce our opening in another blog article. But with the election on, we’re all spread pretty thin.  Tonight all the candidates from the Liberal, PC, NDP and Green Parties were invited to an education Q & A event to speak to teachers.   Sadly none of the PC candidates chose to attend. I hope to start posting video tomorrow tomorrow.

Its time Ontario joined the Green wave that’s sweeping Canada and send some Green MPPs to Queen’s Park.

Bob’s calendar is filling up fast: https://bobjonkman.ca/calendar/

Remember when the TV News tried to inform us?

Macleans Magazine just published its “Ontario election 2018 platform guide: Where the parties stand on everything from hydro bills to taxes to transit” which makes absolutely no mention of the Green Party at all.

And tonight, Mike Schreiner has been excluded from CityTV’s televised Leadership Debate.

If you care about democracy in Ontario, if you can get down to City TV in Toronto tonight, please join the silent protest about the Green Party’s exclusion from the debate.

A contingent of WRGreens has gone down to join the  silent protest.  Signs are welcome.  the Protest begins at 5:00 pm down at City TV News, 33 Dundas Street East in Toronto, and is scheduled to go on at least until the televised debate begins.  The Facebook event information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1649693598473089/

What else can we Do?

Devon Rowcliffe recommends:

“Can you please take five minutes to help Mike Schreiner be invited to the CityNews Toronto televised provincial leaders’ debate this Monday?

PHONE: 416-599-CITY (2489)
* press “4” for the general mailbox and leave a message (unfortunately their “Viewer Relations Dept” mailbox doesn’t seem to be working)

EMAIL (via web form): http://toronto.citynews.ca/contact-us-news-tips/

FACEBOOK (leave a comment): https://www.facebook.com/citynewstoronto/posts/10155297477146175

TWITTER (leave a comment): https://twitter.com/CityNews/status/992735787476226048

(Unfortunately their Instagram account doesn’t show comments)

AND… Please sign the petition at https://fairdebates.ca/

Even though they’re trying to shut him out, Mike Schreiner is all about getting things done.  So while the City TV debate is being broadcast tonight, Mike will be sharing his answers to the questions posed at the debate online.  We can watch that here:  https://secure.gpo.ca/content/mike-mic

If the “news media” isn’t willing to inform Ontario voters of our options, we can help broadcast it ouselved on social media.   If you’re a Twitter user, please tweet and reshare Mike’s tweets.

You can always subscribe to our WRGreens Tweets List on Twitter if you can help tweet and retweet green information throughout the campaign.

[republished from WRGreens: Why does CityTV think it is Okay to Censor What Voters Need to Hear?]

A Good Time Was Had By All

The Glorious Greens team of candidates was the very first WRGreens entry in the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival’s Pancake Flipping Contest!

Glorious Greens: David Weber #KitSH, Bob Jonkman #KitCon, Mike Schreiner #Guelph, #Zdravko Gunjevic #Wloo, and Stacey Danckert #KitCen

Since our Cambridge candidate Michele Braniff was unable to attend, Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner pitched in.  (Just one of the many things that makes him a great leader!)

After watching the other teams compete on the obstacle course, Mike used scientific methods to determine which team member should play which position.

Mike Schreiner, Bob Jonkman and Stacey Danckert
But things didn’t actually work out as planned.

The Glorious Greens made it through two rounds before being disqualified; not bad for our first time out (and valuable experience for next time!)

In between times we got to meet interesting people.


#KitCon candidate Bob Jonkman introduced Mike to Liberal cabinet minister Bardish Chagger.


The current Kitchener—Conestoga Green candidate (Bob Jonkman) and the previous Kitchener—Conestoga Green Candidate (David Weber) introduced Mike to the Kitchener—Conestoga Conservative MP, Harold Albrecht.

We had an information booth set up inside the Woolwich Memorial Centre.

Alongside our button making event…
…where kids of all ages……could make their own button…

while being serenaded with live music!

Our first outing at the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival was a great success.

David Weber, Mike Schreiner, Bob Jonkman, Zdravko Gunjevic and Stacey Danckert

What a glorious day!  We hope to see you there next year!

The Monopolization of Marijuana

A few decades ago this classic ad was part of “The War on Drugs”

Recently the same actress, Rachael Leigh Cook, reprised her role in this 2017 “Your Brain on Drug Policy” video.

 

The war on drugs is rooted in racist policies, and it’s failure has been as obvious as Prohibition.

During the 2015 election, the NDP talked about decriminalizing cannabis, but the Liberals said that wasn’t good enough; they would take a step further and legalize it.

Sadly voters again gave too much First Past The Post power to one of the same old parties promising “real change”. For real change, you have to vote smart– and different. The Green Party has better policy:

4.9 Ending the war on drugs

Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada Leader
Elizabeth May

Between 2008 and 2011, according to the Department of Justice, Canada spent $311 million targeting illicit drugs, with a majority of that money going to law enforcement. Most of that was for the ‘war’ against cannabis (marijuana). Marijuana prohibition is also prohibitively costly in other ways, including criminalizing youth and fostering organized crime. Cannabis prohibition, which has gone on for decades, has utterly failed and has not led to reduced drug use in Canada.After analyzing the recommendation of the Canadian Senate’s 2002 Special Committee on Drugs and the examples of strategies used by some European countries, the Green Party of Canada has come to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana. Furthermore, the Greens believe that drug addictions should be treated as a health problem, not as criminal offences.

Green Party MPs will:

Legalize marijuana by removing marijuana from the drug schedule;

Create a regulatory framework for the safe production of marijuana by small, independent growers;

Develop a taxation rate for marijuana similar to that of tobacco;

Establish the sale of marijuana to adults for medicinal or personal use through licensed distribution outlets;

Educate the public about the health threats of marijuana, tobacco, and other drug use;

Launch a public consultation on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, considering the current high costs of the law enforcement effort;

Provide increased funding to safe injection sites, treatment facilities, and addict rehabilitation.

Unfortunately the way the Liberal majority government is doing this is not the way a Green government would have.

On September 8 of this year, Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, made the following comment regarding the proposed regulations for marijuana sales:

“This looks like another Liberal plan to say a lot and do very little, supporting big corporations and political insiders over local small businesses.

Mike Schreiner, Green party of Ontario Leader
Mike Schreiner

Having limited retail outlets across Ontario for legal marijuana will do virtually nothing to combat the huge illegal market.

The Green Party does not support the monopolization of marijuana. The marijuana industry should be like the craft brewery industry – helping build local businesses, creating local jobs and contributing tax dollars to local communities across the province.

The GPO supports strict regulations and controls for marijuana sales. The government can license retails outlets with strict rules focused on safety and health for small businesses.

This announcement at this time is a cynical ploy by the Liberals to divert attention from their ongoing legal scandals.”

Sunday July 30th is the (Green) Party in the Park!

[reblogged from WRGreens]

Whether you’re an official Green Party of Ontario member, a GPO supporter, or even if you’re just a thinker green thoughts, you’re invited to Riverside Park in Guelph for a (Green) Party In The Park.

Anyone is welcome, even if you’re just curious to learn more about the upstart Party that convinced the Government of Ontario to bump up the rates (from $3.71 per million litres to $53.71 per million litres) commercial watertakers like Nestlé pay for our municipal water.  That’s still too little — it’s still only about a third of what we pay, but it’s a pretty impressive achievement for a party without a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.  If Ontario wants better, we’ll need to start actually voting Green.

If you want to print out a couple of posters to put up in your neighborhood, you can download them from Flickr here

The official reason for the party is a Guelph Green Party of Ontario nomination meeting which will launch Mike Schreiner‘s bid to become the first Green Party member in Queen’s Park!

Come on out and meet Mike!  Join the free fun with an RSVP:

RSVP  ~  (Green) Party In The Park  ~  2017

Fun

connect with the green community

Food

from Schmuck Truck and Bluewater Creamery

Keynote

from newly elected BCGreens MLA Adam Olsen

Kidzone

with bubbles and facepaint!

Live Music

from the awesome Joni Nehrita

and the Andrew Craig Trio

Spread the word in your own neighbourhood!  
Print a poster or two and post them on Grocery Store & other Community Bulletin Boards
[If you’ve never used Flickr, here are some handy instructions for downloading]