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Ian Arthur, MPP Kingston and the Islands

Government of Ontario

Members' Statement: Cancellation of Basic Income

Published on August 2, 2018

Today I delivered a members' statement highlighting the impact of the cancellation of the basic income pilot.

Mr. Ian Arthur: On April 24, when asked if a Conservative government would kill the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, party officials said, “Nope ... we look forward to seeing the results.” Well, it took only a few short weeks before the Conservatives got used to breaking their promises to the people.

At its core, basic income is the right to self-determination beyond circumstance, and that is a powerful idea. Ontarians who participated in the pilot have said that it was life-changing. Dave Cherkewski of Hamilton lived in poverty for 10 years before this pilot. Now he’s able to afford fresh, healthy food, and his anxiety has been curbed. Another recipient, named Jodi, said, “Basic income has given me the security I needed to help relieve some of the stress of our everyday life.”

But I can see why this government of the few is for only the few. If they were to truly empower the many, including those families partaking in this pilot, their mandate would be short indeed. I would remind the members opposite that the last Premier to cancel a Basic Income Pilot was defeated shortly thereafter. When you slash income and resources for the impoverished and the vulnerable while also pledging to cut taxes for the rich and the powerful, it is obvious who this government actually stands for.

I urge this government to show some compassion, to live up to all of your promises and reverse this callous decision.