Please help put the pressure on Ottawa for a no strings attached Basic Income Guarantee NOW!
I am reaching out yet again at the end of another week of just awful world news. If you need a break from reading emails and blog posts and are choosing time away from digital technologies I very much understand and respect that. If you have a bit of time and energy to briefly read on, thank you.
All the awfulness in the news of late is enough to shut this deep feeling heart down, but instead of shutting down altogether I somehow am choosing to honour the grief I feel (gentle, deep breaths, hand on heart) as well as honour whatever privileges I may have thanks to living in a democracy. One that is not utterly divided by hate and/or filled with guns and the violence they wreak. I am doing so right now because I can. Who knows what tomorrow may bring me energy wise?
Part of my honouring process involves doing my part to try to push the agenda for implementation of a basic income for Canadians.
I truly believe that an income tested, basic income will help improve the lives of many of our most vulnerable people on Prince Edward Island, in particular, but across all of this fine nation as well.
If you can take a moment to sign this letter it will go a long way towards getting the word out to Ottawa that basic income can help alleviate some of the incredible need for a more fair distribution of wealth.
In Vancouver there was an inspiring research study done recently whereby some of the homeless population there was given a small income to do with as they saw fit. The outcome of the study was hopeful to say the least. And if I have my story straight, the professor leading the research had been homeless herself for a brief time as a new immigrant to Canada and was motivated by her experiences as a homeless person to create the research project.
As Senator Pate said to a group of us last summer, and I am paraphrasing here, "when people have their basic needs met with dignity, they are less likely to need to anesthetize their pain."
And goodness knows there are a lot of people suffering right now. (deep, gentle breaths, hand on heart in honouring of self and other)
Implementation of a basic income could help Islanders on so many fronts. Just the uptick in mental well being alone would be well worth it.
And if you have a few more minutes and are interested still, read on...otherwise thank you for making it this far:
Here is a clip from a course study I did on systems change and just transition regarding the positive changes in the structure of systems we have in place as well as changes in the mental modes or thinking which underlies structures in society. Also included is a scaling template I used to demonstrate how basic income might well be implemented here:
·Non-inclusive//ableist workplace environment perpetually excludes those who need more flexibility in work.
·“Income assistance locks families into generational cycles of poverty.” (Atlantic Position Paper on Basic Income)
·“All current provincial and territorial social assistance levels are wholly inadequate.” (Sen Pate)
·“Market Basket Measure does not take enough people into account (leaves out those in remote, rural and Indigenous communities).” (Sen Pate)
Imagined Structures after basic income implemented:
·Policies in place to support workplace inclusion have come about as Autistic and other ND persons have fewer struggles to meet basic needs and more energy and time to advocate for increased inclusiveness in workplaces etc
·Advocates for social justice can turn their energies towards ensuring that those other support systems required to ensure everyone is cared for are strengthened rather than undermined
·Persons living in Indigenous and remote communities can focus energy on policies to serve their local communities now that their basic needs are being met.
·Basic Income using a wealth tax to fund it could be an example of a strong negative feedback loop which could weaken the “success to the successful” structures that bring increased ease and benefit to those who are in most secure positions of wealth, education and power…and strengthen those structures which could help “provide individuals with options to get a leg up and out of poverty.” Sen Pate
·“The Poor are always with us”…that there will always be poor people is simply an antiquated mindset that capitalism monopolized to normalize the perpetuation of inequities built into neoliberalism
·“If I can work then so can ‘they’.”
·Fear that basic income would create “communities of layabouts…These attitudes are rooted in and perpetuate discriminatory biases against the poor as well as derogatory class and race based stereotypes.” Sen Pate
Imagining that after basic income is implemented the mental modes would shift to seeing all the good that comes from people having their basic needs met in a more dignified manner than the current welfare state affords. By treating everyone with the dignity they deserve as part of their birthright, people will begin to heal from the trauma and shame that comes from living on the margins. Basic Income will help us all to see that when the marginalized become more centered that everyone’s well being improves. When part of our population is struggling we all benefit from their healing. We will become a true community of caring humans and we see that everyone has something to contribute to the goodness of the world.
Basic Income implementation needs to be unique to the population base it serves:
ie) It must be respectful and inclusive of Indigenous rights and needs
It must reflect the unique circumstances of the population it serves (in remote areas the cost of living is higher therefore basic income there must reflect this difference)
It must not replace those other services that certain populations deserve such as disability supports
An inclusive Basic Income will serve to provide positive impact on those in precarious work and those who are unable to work for various reasons such as care roles that are unrecognized by neoliberalism, as well it will center more persons who are normally on the periphery by creating space for the possibility of retraining to improve their lot or creating opportunities for new volunteer experiences, home businesses etc
As a culture used to turning a blind eye to those on the margins, I am not sure that we can truly understand what beauty could come from taking entire segments of the population and essentially saying to them “we see you, we value you, we want you to do well and be well”…and even to stretch this image, since we are going deep here, to say “we are you and you are us.” Basic income has great potential for reducing the kind of othering that has taken over too much of the goodness potential of the world. Othering is crowding out the space in our collective hearts where love is meant to roost. It is fostering hatred and violence instead of love and harmony. As those on the margins are centered, listened to, valued it is my deep wish that our world will blossom with the caring that we are designed for.
Thanks for reading!
I wish you wellness and a decent measure of ease.