Letter to the Editor – Universal Basic Income

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Dear Editor,

In his letter, Mr Macklem criticizes the editor for the number of times Universal Basic Income (UBI) is mentioned in the North Grenville Times. But maybe the number of times UBI is being mentioned in a small, local paper indicates that this is an idea whose time has come?

Canada is one of the richest countries in the world. Yet we have increasing inequality and unequal distribution of wealth. We have the resources to ensure that nobody goes hungry or is homeless, yet we expect people on ODSP to survive on $1100 a month, and those on OW to survive on $733 a month. Meanwhile, the Thomson family are worth over $40 billion, the top 0.01% of households own 5.6% of the wealth in Canada, the top 1% of households own 25.6% of the wealth, while the bottom 40% own just 1.2%.

We have the resources in Canada to ensure nobody goes without the necessities of life such as food, water, clothing, shelter, power, and internet access. And we have plenty of work that needs doing yet is considered economically low value, such as caring for children or seniors. UBI combined with universal services would ensure that we all had enough for the necessities of life, and people wouldn’t be trapped in exploitative employment. Even those of us who are fortunate enough to be employed in work we find rewarding and stimulating may decide to spend less time in paid employment and spend more time with our families, looking after our land, volunteering, or being creative.

What is clear is that our current model of unrestrained capitalism cannot continue. The idea of infinite growth in a finite system is nonsensical, and 150 years of large scale burning of fossil fuels in the pursuit of growth has pushed the biosphere to the brink of irreversible change. What good is progress if large numbers of people get left behind?

Steve Gabell

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