At its national convention in Winnipeg last week, the Liberal Party of Canada — the oldest federal political party in Canada, and the country’s current majority party — passed a resolution in favor of a guaranteed basic income.

This Priority Resolution states, “That the Liberal Party of Canada, in consultation with the provinces, develop a poverty reduction strategy aimed at providing a minimum guaranteed income.”

The rationale for the resolution draws upon Dr. Evelyn Forget’s analysis of the the success of the Mincome experiments, conducted in Dauphin, Manitoba in the late 1970s:

The ever growing gap between the wealthy and the poor in Canada will lead to social unrest, increased crime rates and violence. Research indicates that a guaranteed basic income can reduce this gap, and create social security while being cost neutral. …

 

… Dr. Evelyn Forget conducted an analysis of the [Mincome] program in 2009 which was published in 2011. Forget found that in the period that mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5%, with fewer incidents of work-related injuries, and fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse. Additionally, the period saw a reduction in rates of psychiatric hospitalization, and in the number of mental illness-related consultations with health professionals.

Roderick Benns, reporting on the resolution in Leaders and Legacies, contextualizes this breakthrough amid the growing popularity of universal basic income in Canada:

Quebec is currently looking into a form of basic income and Ontario has committed to doing a pilot project beginning this year to study the effects of a minimum income. Prince Edward Island has also expressed strong interest.

Senator Art Eggleton has been relentlessly pushing this issue, as has his retired counterpart, retired Conservative Senator Hugh Segal.

Mayors across Canada are also on board. In fact, no less than nine provincial and territorial capital leaders support basic income or at least pilot projects, with innumerable smaller city and town mayors across the nation declaring their support as well.

References:

Liberal Party of Canada, “Poverty Reduction: Minimum Income,” WPG 2016.

Daniel Tencer, “Basic Income Now Officially Liberal Party Policy,” Huff Post, May 30, 2016.

Roderick Benns, “Liberals ready to shake up Canada’s social policy with basic income guarantee,” Leaders and Legacies, May 30, 2016.


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About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 512 articles.

Former lead writer and editor of Basic Income News.