PEI

P.E.I. the right place at the right time for basic income pilot, says Hugh Segal

With a federal election coming and all parties in the P.E.I. Legislature agreed, Canada's leading basic income advocate says this is the right time for the province to lobby Ottawa for money.

Plans for small pilot on P.E.I. already in place

Election campaigns are a good time to extract promises, says Hugh Segal. (CBC)

With a federal election coming and all parties in the P.E.I. Legislature agreed, Canada's leading basic income advocate says this is the right time for the province to lobby Ottawa for money.

Former Canadian senator Hugh Segal said with 3.5 million Canadians living in poverty Ottawa has a responsibility to deal with any province that wants to reform the welfare system. Segal is familiar with the Island, having started his career in the office of David MacDonald, an MP for the western P.E.I. riding of Egmont.

"It's a very special place," said Segal.

"The values and the sense of community is very compelling, so I think it's a great place for a pilot."

Segal met with Premier Dennis King recently to talk about establishing a basic-income pilot project. The government has a pilot for 400 Islanders planned, and at the closing of the spring session of the legislature all parties agreed on the creation of a special committee on poverty to explore the issue further.

With the fall election campaign for all intents and purposes underway, Segal said, now is a good time to press Ottawa for money.

"[It] would not be a bad time to get Ottawa to make a modest commitment to help with P.E.I.'s pilot," he said.

The province went to the federal government for help with a basic income project in 2016, and was offered data and logistical help, but no money.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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