Update on basic-income effort 'very disappointing'
'Sadly I take away from that that it’s unlikely we’re going to see any material change here'
P.E.I.'s efforts to work out a partnership with the federal government in order to create a universal basic income pilot project have been unsuccessful so far.
In December, the P.E.I. Legislature voted unanimously in favour of Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker's motion to attempt to partner with the federal government order to create a basic income pilot project on P.E.I.
Government provided an update Thursday on its efforts. The written update indicates that Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy contacted federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean Yves Duclos in February about the idea for a pilot project, but the federal government has not offered financial support.
The update says that Duclos offered only to "provide data to support P.E.I. in developing a pilot."
The province says federal funding would be needed for an Island-wide project to be feasible,
Bevan-Baker said the news in the update is "very disappointing."
"Sadly I take away from that that it's unlikely we're going to see any material change here," said Bevan-Baker.
I hope that our minister of family and human services is not going to give up on that so easily.- Peter Bevan-Baker
While he said the outlook for such a project on P.E.I. doesn't look good, he hopes government will keep trying.
"I hope that our minister of family and human services is not going to give up on that so easily, and that she'll continue to discuss the matter with the federal counterparts," said Bevan-Baker.
In its update, the province said it would continue its efforts to discuss the idea with the federal government.
Hope for other projects
If federal funding doesn't come through, Bevan-Baker said he hopes the provincial government will look into other, smaller scale options to test out a pilot project on P.E.I.
"Pick a region, pick a community. Of course I'd love to see it tip to tip, but you know, if we have to settle for something smaller that could be funded solely through the provincial treasury, then at least that would be something."
He noted that the issue of poverty dominated discussions at the legislature on Thursday. He said it's important to think about the most effective and efficient ways to help people in need.
"Some of the things that are required to address the root causes of poverty will take years, decades, perhaps generations to come to fruition. But this is something that could be done now."
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With files from Kerry Campbell