These are the types of issues we wish were being discussed and promoted at the TEDx Conference in Vancouver rather than how to inject “optimism” into the Climate Change debate.
According to the Huffington Post article entitled “A Canadian City Once Eliminated Poverty And Nearly Everyone Forgot About It”, we learn that a research study was started in 1970 to study poverty reduction through monthly payments with no strings attached.
The program was dubbed “Mincome” – a neologism of “minimum income” – and it was the first of its kind in North America. It stood out from similar American projects at the time because it didn’t shut out seniors and the disabled from qualification.
The project’s original intent was to evaluate if giving cheques to the working poor, enough to top-up their incomes to a living wage, would kill people’s motivation to work. It didn’t.
But the Conservative government that took power provincially in 1977 – and federally in 1979 – had no interest in implementing the project more widely. Researchers were told to pack up the project’s records into 1,800 boxes and place them in storage.
A final report was never released.
Does not sound surprising that a final report was never released because the program data was suggesting it was working and why would you want to promote ideas that actually reduce poverty?
Basic statistics about the realities of poverty faced by Canadians
In Edmonton, 1 in 8 individuals are currently living in poverty.
Poverty costs Canada as a whole between $72 billion and $84 billion annually; Ontarians pay $2,299 – $2,895 per year, while British Columbians pay over $2,100 per year.
Precarious employment has increased by nearly 50% over the past two decades.
Between 1980 and 2005 the average earnings among the least wealthy Canadians fell by 20%.
The Swiss experience with the idea of a minimum living wage was also an interesting study in how good ideas are often buried by the Gatekeepers aka our elected Politicians under mysterious circumstances and generations are lost before those same ideas they are again revived.
Good luck Canada is this effort, again after more than 40 years of waiting. While Corporations get ever increasing government handouts, the idea of citizens getting help is characterized as dangerous. What a strange bizarro world we are living in.
The Swiss are trying again in June of this year and we will be watching the outcome of this referendum again.