From April 8th to the 10th the federal liberals gathered virtually to vote on policies. In a transparent and Democratic process begun last spring and disrupted by the pandemic, the grassroots whittled down hundreds of resolutions to just 26, which now are included in the official party program. Among the top five are two resolutions supporting basic income for the fourth time in a row.
In second place, after pharmacare:
2 — A UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME FOR CANADA
Whereas, The Government of Canada has committed to the reduction of poverty by 50% by 2030 through the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Whereas We face a rapidly changing economy: artificial intelligence and automation will increase the precarity of work and create a new normal where most people change careers several times over their working lives.
Whereas Low and moderate income Canadians are the most vulnerable to workforce disruption by artificial intelligence automation, according to a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Whereas There is evidence to suggest that people on a Universal Basic Income (UBI) will be more likely to go back to school or start small businesses.
Whereas Universal basic income reduces bureaucracy: with no-strings-attached coverage, determining who is eligible is far simpler and the cost of administering benefits is greatly reduced.
Whereas 8.7% of Canadians live below the poverty line, 20% of Canadians live in the bottom 40% of incomes, and a UBI will ensure that communities at risk (including Indigenous peoples) are able to feel financially secure.
Whereas UBI increases bargaining power for workers because a guaranteed, unconditional income gives them leverage to say no to exploitative wages and poor working conditions.
Be it resolved that, through a process of intersectional consultation with stakeholders and political parties, the Government of Canada introduce a UBI for all Canadians.
Be it further resolved that, given the success of the CERB program, that a UBI will assist seniors and low-income Canadians maintain an adequate standard of living, regardless of working status.
Young Liberals of Canada
Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario)
And in 5th place:
5 — A CANADIAN BASIC INCOME — RETHINKING CANADA’S TOMORROW
Whereas COVID-19 exposed serious gaps in federal and provincial social safety nets;
Whereas economic stability is key to equality of opportunity and dignity; and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing” of themselves and their families;
Whereas income is a primary social determinant of health, yet precarious work is a growing concern and millions of Canadians still live in poverty at great cost to our society;
Whereas a basic income would secure household purchasing power, address the stigma attached to being a welfare recipient, and signal that Canadians are best placed to determine their immediate needs;
Whereas a basic income would simplify benefit applications for Canadians in need, allow for merging of government programs and reduce administrative costs for government;
Whereas the Canada Emergency Response Benefit was a progressive and transformative program that supported 8.8 million Canadians, proving to be both effective and popular;
Whereas Canada’s existing social safety net already includes basic income supports, including for seniors and families with kids; and several basic income experiments have both shown positive results and debunked labour force concerns;
Be it resolved that the Liberal Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to:
1. Conduct a basic income cost-benefit analysis, including reviews of basic income projects and studies by subject matter experts;
2. Explore streamlining current federal income supports, while maintaining those for distinct needs, adjusting for regional differences, and identifying new revenue sources;
3. Work with provinces, territories, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit to develop and implement a basic income guarantee.
SLC - Senior Liberals’ Commission
As was the case with most of the 26 resolutions, the second-ranked proposal survived the entire screening process, which eliminated 16 resolutions. The fifth was fast-tracked. In the go-no-go phase, number two passed with 77% yes and number five with 85%... People are cautious.
For the last phase, everyone had 15 votes to distribute as they wished. I put all my chips on number two. I suspect that most people who support basic income support it strongly.
Unfortunately, doubters tend to default to no and the only Liberal that really counts is a skeptic.
An inciteful critique of the whole shebang can be found here