B.C. Greens welcome expert panel’s recommendations
The B.C. expert Panel has officially rejected the idea of a universal basic income on January 24th and has instead recommended targeted basic income support programs. The B.C. Greens have welcomed the expert panel’s recommendations. Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Cowichan Valley, has welcomed the panel’s recommendations. The B.C. Greens, who made a study of basic income a requirement before supporting the NDP’s former minority government, thanked the panel in an official statement for their “thoughtful” and “comprehensive” report.
Targeted support programs instead of a universal basic income
The panel’s recommended support programs replace and improve existing social programs like income assistance and disability assistance programs. The targeted benefits should also support youth leaving care and women fleeing violence.
The panel’s report also recommends extending health benefits for low-income people as part of the recommended overhaul of British Columbia’s social services.
The idea of a universal basic income for Canadians is to provide everyone, regardless of their status, with an income that lifts them to at least above the poverty line. A basic income ensures everyone “an income sufficient to meet basic needs and live with dignity, regardless of work status.” Read more about basic income here.
Critics say targeted basic income programs would not solve anyone’s problems; on the contrary, it might hurt the economy and make citizens dependent on their government’s support programs. Evelyn Forget, a professor at the University of Manitoba and author of several books on basic income, sounded skeptical about the recommendations. “I don’t disagree with any changes they recommend. I just don’t think they go far enough, and I don’t think they’re going to be implemented.”
Forget retweeted this Quote on February 4th with the following caption “A better society is possible. #BasicIncome”
Despite the criticism, Sonia Furstenau, the B.C. Green Party leader, saw the recommendations as a positive step that aligns with “what the B.C. Greens have long advocated for.”
See GGN’s interview with Sonia Furstenau on Old Growth-protection here.
In her official statement, Furstenau added: “They [the recommendations] outline a number of steps that need to be taken now. Steps like creating a basic income for people with disabilities, youth aging out of care, and women fleeing violence, as well as making the income assistance emergency $300 supplement permanent. There is no time to waste. These reforms are necessary steps that can be taken immediately towards the goal of establishing a society where no-one is left behind, and where everyone has their basic needs met.” Read the full official statement here.