TREATY 1 TERRITORY, WINNIPEG—NDP MP Leah Gazan is sounding the alarm on Liberal Member of Parliament Julie Dzerowicz’ private member’s Bill C-273, National Strategy for a Guaranteed Basic Income Act introduced last week, indicating another study is not needed and that the legislation opens the door to replacing our current social safety net, with something that could potentially lead to greater levels of poverty.
“Basic income has been tried and tested in Canada and elsewhere, including the 1970 Mincome project in Winnipeg, Dauphin, and other rural locations in Manitoba. We do not need more studies, we need action. What we need is a plan to implement a guaranteed livable basic income, setting out the various steps needed, and an ambitious timeline for their accomplishment.” said Gazan. “Although I am pleased that income guarantees are becoming part of the political discussion, they must be designed in a way that lifts people out of poverty.”
In August, Gazan introduced Private Member’s Motion, M-46, which calls on the federal government to convert the Canada Emergency Response Benefit into a permanent Guaranteed Livable Basic Income. Motion 46 was developed alongside Basic Income Canada Network and Basic Income Manitoba, which included academics involved in the 1970 Mincome project.
Most concerning to Gazan is article 3d(i) of Bill C-273, which provides the option for the federal government to gut the current social safety net, something she has indicated could be devastating.
“Advocates for guaranteed income have been clear that the extension of income guarantees in Canada must be in addition to current and future income supports meant to meet special, exceptional and other distinct needs and goals, rather than just basic needs,” said Gazan. “We need to build on our current social safety net not reduce support for individuals residing in Canada. It must not fall below the floor set by Motion 46.”
“Ms. Dzerkowicz should amend her Bill to make clear that any guaranteed basic income program put in place should strengthen the social safety net, not cutting the support people receive, said Gazan.