Senator Art Eggleton

Parliament of Canada, Ottawa

7 March, 2016

Dear Senator Eggleton

Re: your article “Time To Try Basic Income For All Canadians”

            in National Observer of 29 February, 2016

The Citizens Democracy Forum strongly endorses your call for a program to show the feasibility of establishing a guaranteed basic annual income.

Our Forum was formed in 2008 by supporters of all political parties who came together out of concern for the erosion of our democracy and to pressure government to express the progressive values held by the majority of Canadians. In today’s improved sociopolitical climate, your initiative very much fits our interests. With more than 150 members and supporters in Eastern Ontario, we communicate and work with other like-minded groups across Canada and we are willing to help raise public support for your proposal.

Poverty in Canada is a national disgrace that challenges our values. Your proposal, if widely presented and understood, would be supported by Canadians across the political spectrum.

As you point out, the “Mincome” pilot project in Dauphin, Manitoba, initiated by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1974 (but cancelled in 1979 by the succeeding government) produced many impressive health and socioeconomic outcomes, as recently cited by economist Evelyn Forget. For example, in a 2011 University of Manitoba report, she found that mothers with newborns stopped working in order to stay at home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren’t under as much pressure to support their families, resulting in more teenagers graduating. In the period that Mincome was administered hospital visits dropped 8.5 percent and there was a reduction in rates of psychiatric hospitalization and in the number of mental illness-related consultations with health professionals.

Your proposed use of a negative income tax is noteworthy. This would be simpler to administer and possibly less controversial than a grant system such as that used in the Mincome project or that has been considered in Finland and elsewhere.

It would be fitting if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was to head the government that achieved his father’s long-term objective with the Mincome project – the elimination of poverty in Canada.

Please let us know how we can help in any way to further the cause.

Yours sincerely,

Donald Page,                                       John Carley,

CDF communications                           CDF chair

Smiths Falls, Ontario                            Elgin, Ontario

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