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  • Province misses chance to adopt basic income

QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement about the government’s COVID-19 relief plan:

“I voted in favour of the government’s fiscal update because we need a united front against COVID-19 regardless of political differences. I support running a deficit because the priority must be saving lives, preparing our hospitals for the peak of this crisis, and unlocking urgent financial relief for people.

I echo the concerns raised by doctors and nurses that we need to do more to prepare for a worst-case scenario, as we hear stories of hospitals already running out of masks. The government must show more leadership to produce and procure masks, ventilators and other equipment.

Do not let fiscal prudence get in the way of saving lives.

I am disappointed that this financial package leaves everyday people, renters, and local businesses without the assistance they need to survive a prolonged crisis. 

The government had a chance to follow in the footsteps of Ottawa, Quebec and British Columbia with an emergency basic income in the form of direct payments to adults. This is the most efficient and least bureaucratic tool at our disposal and yet the government continues to ignore this common sense approach.

I am also worried about the cafes, bookstores, bakeries, and hair dressers that might not be able to re-open after this crisis without direct cash flow relief. Small businesses asked for wage subsidies and yet the government ignored their call in favour of tax deferrals for large corporations.

Finally, this relief plan leaves renters vulnerable to eviction even as we beg people to stay in their homes to flatten the curve. I am surprised the government took no concrete measures to either provide rent relief or explicitly ban evictions until this pandemic is over.”

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