Happy New Year, everyone! May your New Year’s resolutions be successful. In keeping with the season, here are a few of my wishes for 2019.
Progress on the basic income front
Last summer, the provincial government appointed a three-person panel of experts to look at the viability of guaranteed basic income in BC. CBC Radio brought the issue forward again for the New Year. You can read to their report here. For those of you who are unfamiliar with basic income, it has long been proposed as a way to get rid of our antiquated welfare system.
The idea is that every adult who qualifies would be guaranteed a basic minimum income, with no conditions attached. Some suggestions are for $15,000 to $20,000 a year. This would replace the different social assistance payments some people now receive.
The idea to investigate basic income for BC was a stipulation from the provincial Green Party’s Andrew Weaver before he supported the NDP. If it goes ahead, plans right now are that the first pilot project would not start until 2020. I strongly encourage you to submit your input to the government’s Basic Income Committee; they need to know that there is support for basic income, and that it is urgently needed.
Basic income has been proven to be a much more beneficial approach, starting with doing away with all the entanglements of the current archaic welfare system we have. So my wish for 2019 is that the basic income pilot project proceeds this year — one year ahead of schedule.
That the Greens and NDP keep working together in Victoria
This is a model that is working and delivering tangible benefits to the people of BC on many levels. Overall, it has been a breath of fresh air compared to the previous Liberal government.
When this alliance was first proposed, a lot of people were afraid it wouldn’t work, but the two parties have proven otherwise — like the example above regarding basic income. This successful two-party relationship is a good example of the kinds of benefits we would witness when proportional representation becomes reality (see below).
So my wish for 2019 is that this Green/NDP relationship continues to be productive, for it demonstrates how parties, when they work together, can achieve real progressive change.
Progress on the pro rep front
Many, many of us in BC were very disappointed with last year’s referendum outcome, which saw 60% of voters supporting keeping the antiquated first-past-the-post voting system. However, all is not lost!
Prince Edward Island is holding its own referendum in 2019 or 2020 on proportional representation. As well, Vancouver’s new mayor, Kennedy Stewart, ran on a platform of doing away with Vancouver’s outdated, at-large system for the next municipal election in 2022.
So my wish for 2019 is that people in jurisdictions across Canada, including the folks in PEI, keep pushing for fairer voting systems.
Super progress on the climate file
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which the Green Party’s Andrew Weaver used to be part of, recently released a report with very grim news. Our climate change situation is much worse than what scientists had previously estimated.
We now have 12 years, at most, to make major progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 45% below 2010 levels.
So my wish for 2019 is that the federal Liberal government releases an updated action plan on climate change, with a 2020 target of a 45% reduction in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions over 2010 levels.
Here’s to a progressive and ferocious 2019!