Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jonathan Sas offers a worthwhile read on the potential value of a basic income - as well the importance of retaining and strengthening a social safety net to go with it:
In the current rush to experiment with GMIs, let’s not forget the hard won battles to decommodify certain things we value like health care. There was good reason to take the provision of health services out of the market and there remains good reason to doubt that merely providing cash transfers to everyone is adequate as a social safety net.

Ongoing fights to protect all those in the labour market will also continue to matter. We need strong unions, fair benefits and working conditions for all. We need government administered programs like the CPP that ensure a defined benefit public pension at retirement, and accessible employment insurance.

GMI or not, Canada desperately needs a national child care program. (One can see how easily the provision of the GMI could be used in service of troubling social conservative designs to incentivize women to stay home and out of the labour force).  We also need national pharmacare and robust investment in other pubic services — community programs like support for mental health and drug addiction that a GMI will not, cannot, and should not be conceived of as a solution to.
What I am trying to get across here is that the GMI must be the baseline. Not some silver bullet solution. We cannot lose sight of other pressing social policy needs, nor provide a handy opening for more of our social architecture to be dismantled.

Whatever the result of GMI pilots, public provision remains essential to a just, equal and thriving society.
- The Canadian Labour Congress offers its list of priorities for the federal budget. And PressProgress points out a few ways to boost public revenues to fund a more fair Canada.

- The CP highlights the erosion of one of the federal government's most important social supports - as not only is Employment Insurance available to few workers, even those who receive it are seeing appalling delays in having their applications processed.

- Meanwhile, Dean Beeby notes that despite the Libs' campaign promises, there still seems to be far too much money available to harass the charities targeted for audits by the Cons.

- Finally, CBC reports on the three Saskatchewan First Nations forced to declare a state of emergency due to a mental health crisis. And Anna Desmarais reports on a protest against the use of isolation to shut away people struggling with their mental health.

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