John Horgan and Andrew Weaver. Credit to: British Columbia New Democratic Party.
Since the 30th of May 2017 that British Columbia (BC) political parties NDP (New Democratic Party) and Greens have an agreement signed to collaborate in the present regional legislature, which can be read in the NDP webpage. This comes after an historical regional election process which saw the end of the Liberal Party majority in BC, held since 2001.
This event is also relevant because the unprecedented agreement refers basic income as part of its agenda. At the end of its Section 3 – Policy Initiatives, under the subtitle “Making life more affordable”, it can be read: “One aspect of the poverty reduction strategy is to design and implement a basic income pilot to test weather giving people a basic income is an effective way to reduce poverty, improve health, housing and employment.”
Other issues covered by the agreement are the maintenance and improvement of public services (mainly health and education), rolling out of environmental protection policies such as expanding the polluting emissions tax and measures to set better democratic mechanisms in BC. It becomes clear from this general political party agreement that basic income is a part of a broad set of policies which aim at improving British Columbians lives, while protecting the environment and established public services.
More information at:
Rob Shaw, “NDP, Greens take aim at Kinder Morgan, Site C in power-sharing deal”, The Province, May 29th 2017
Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist and member of British Columbia’s Legislative Assembly for the Green Party, has proposed that the province test a basic income guarantee in one or more of its towns.
Weaver outlined his recommendations for a BC pilot in a report in The Tyee. Rejecting Hugh Segal’s recommendation for a three-year pilot in Ontario pilots as inadequate, Weaver believes that the pilots should run for at least five years (“the amount of time it takes to finish a post-secondary degree”).
He also recommends conducting the trials in towns of 5,000 to 6,000 people, preferably with wide income inequality, and possibly testing different implementation in different towns. Regarding eligibility for the pilot, Weaver says that “a Green government would likely determine eligibility based on the tax year before the announcement is made, thus avoiding an influx of people hoping to opportunistically take advantage of the payments.”
The Green Party of British Columbia won its first seat in the provincial legislature in the 2013 general election, when Weaver was elected to represent Oak Bay-Gordon Head district in the Greater Victoria region. Overall, the Greens received about 8% of the popular vote. The next British Columbia general election will be held on May 9, 2017. Kamloops This Week reports Weaver as declaring that if the Greens were to take office, they would attempt to implement a basic income pilot by the end of the first year. At present, however, this remains a very big “if”.
A series of posts on Weaver’s blog, contributed by Sarah Miller, explore the idea of a basic income and its implementation in British Columbia:
Andrew MacLeod (November 26, 2016) “BC Greens Pitch a Five-Year Basic Income Pilot Project” The Tyee.
Jessica Klymchuk (November 30, 2016) “Green Leader Weaver visits Kamloops, chides NDP for accepting corporate donations” Kamloops This Week.
Reviewed by Dawn Howard.
Photo (Sandon, British Columbia) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Jasperdo