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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Choose the candidate who will best represent you

Our ad in Saturday’s Local Section of The Record (June 2, 2018)

In spite of a groundswell of public opinion, spurred by the non-partisan fairdebates.ca petition, the TV broadcasting Consortium refused to allow Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner into the televised Ontario Leader Debates.

Both Liberal Leader Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath expressed public support for Mike’s inclusion.  The double barrelled argument was that not only does the Green Party of Ontario field candidates in every riding across the province, the GPO exceeded the 2% Elections Ontario threshold (earning nearly 5% of the vote).

Alas, the unaccountable Broadcast Consortium refused to bow to public opinion and excluded him anyway.  Silent Protestors gathered outside the CityTV studios to protest the first Leaders Debate excluding Mike Schreiner, but after a few quick glimpses from the early live feed, efforts to keep Green protes         news camera folk

Locally CBCKW rigorously supported the Consortium’s GPO censorship by refusing to allow local Green candidates to be included in its riding specific local broadcast, unless one of the “big 3” candidates declined to attend. Stacey was invited to the Kitchener Centre broadcast, but was explicitly informed she had only been included because they only had 3 microphones, and PC candidate Mary Henein Thorn declined.  Zdravko was excluded on Tuesday, Bob on Wednesday.  Mr Norris neglected to inform his listeners he was excluding our candidates, so at the CNIB’s ReVision All Candidate’s Meeting, someone asked why Bob decided not to appear on CBC.  It’s bad enough excluding us, but making it look as though some of our candidates chose not to show up is much worse.

But we have received some coverage.  The Toronto Star Editorial Board endorsed Mike Schreiner for Guelph MPP. and hosted a video Q&A with the Green Party Leader.

The Agenda has given the GPO some excellent coverage as well, inviting our shadow cabinet members to participate, as well as analyzing the GPO Platform.

May 23, 2018
Finding a Home in Ontario

May 25
Analyzing The Green Party Platform

May 25
The Green Party Leader

The biggest problem faced by Greens isn’t coming up with great policy, it’s getting it out there so people know about it.  That is why this is such an important issue.

In spite of everything, I am convinced Ontario is going to join the Green Wave and send Mike Schreiner along with a healthy complement of Green MPPs to Queen’s Park.  Like an opinion poll, that’s just a guess, but what I’m seeing and hearing suggests this will come to pass.  Even in our Kitchener-Conestoga riding, a traditional Conservative stronghold, the turmoil within the PC Party could very well provide an opportunity in what should have been a safe seat.  With the added bonus of the Liberal leader’s concession, our chances are even better.

What we do know for sure is that the addition of even a single Green voice in the legislature will be a game changer.  And that can only be a good thing; not just for Greens, but for Ontarians.  More and more people are starting to realize there is another choice.  It really is time to start doing politics differently.  If you haven’t yet voted, tomorrow ~ June 7th, 2018 ~ is the day.

As GPO candidate Andrew West says, |
“If everyone…who ever thought about voting Green DID vote Green. we would win!”
~ @greenAndrewWest

If you need help getting to the polls, give us a call at 226-476-4529 and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

[Reprinted from the WRGreens Blog]

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/

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!

Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party AGM, 15 March 2018

Meeting
Meeting!
Hello Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party members, supporters and friends!

There’s a provincial election coming in June, and the Kitchener–Conestoga Greens are starting to gear up.

Along with the other Waterloo Region Green Party riding associations, we’re having an election planning meeting this Thursday:

What: Election planning meeting
When: Thursday, 15 February 2018, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Where: Re/Max Office
Location: 720 Westmount Rd East, Kitchener Map

Everyone is welcome to come, not only Green Party members. Bring a friend, and meet the candidates for Waterloo, Zdravko Gunjevic, and Kitchener Centre, Stacey Danckert. We’ll talk about campaign strategies for Waterloo Region, and the Green Party of Ontario’s priorities

If you’re hearing about this for the first time, my apologies for the short notice. We’re just getting started with mailouts for KitCon Green Party members, so future events will get much more advance notice.

Speaking of future events:

The Kitchener–Conestoga provincial Consituents Association and the Kitchener–Conestoga federal Electoral District Association will be having their Annual General Meeting in four weeks:

What: AGM for Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party CA and EDA
When: Thursday, 15 March 2018 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: Kennedy’s Restaurant
Location: 1750 Erb’s Road, St. Agatha, Ontario Map

We’ll elect new executive for the upcoming year. Positions to be filled are:

  • EDA Chief Executive Officer (currently Bob Jonkman)
  • EDA Financial Agent (currenty Laurel Russwurm)
  • CA President (currenty Bob Jonkman)
  • CA Chief Financial Officer (currently Laurel Russwurm)
  • Up to three Principal Officers (currently Marie Bridel, David Weber, Wiyanna Green)

The AGM is at 7:00pm, but please join us for dinner at 6:00pm, and feel free to stay and chat about politics over a beverage until closing. Have a look at Kennedy’s menu!

Everyone is welcome to attend the AGM, but only paid-up members can vote or run for the Executive. Lapsed members can renew their membership that night, but new members need to submit their membership payment by 1 March 2018.

The AGM also marks the closing day for candidate nominations for the Provincial Election. If you’d like to run, please contact Maureen Balsillie, Organizer for the Green Party of Ontario at maureenbalsillie@gpo.ca or +1–519–400–1437

The Kitchener–Conestoga Nomination Contest will be held in early April to select our candidate for the June provincial election.

Hope to see you at a Green Party event soon!

–Bob Jonkman

President,
Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party of Ontario
Constituents Association

bob.jonkman@greenparty.ca