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OPINION: Absurd criticism against Green leader

P.E.I. Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker.

(Guardian File Photo)
P.E.I. Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker. (Guardian File Photo) - The Guardian

Bevan-Baker well known for championing a Basic Income Guarantee - the boldest poverty elimination plan yet proposed

BY JORDAN BOBER

GUEST OPINION

After reading Lynne Thiele’s letter to the editor published in the Guardian on November 23rd, I feel that it is important to respond to a couple of assertions that I find highly problematic.

The first one is her strange charge that Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker “doesn’t support social justice.” I will give this one short shrift, as anyone who has been paying attention will recognize the absurdity of such a statement. Among other things, Mr. Bevan-Baker is well known for championing a Basic Income Guarantee - the boldest poverty elimination plan yet proposed - and helping vault the concept from relative obscurity to a place where it now has all-party support.

More in need of correction - and here I believe that Ms. Thiele, a supporter of Proportional Representation, has been innocently misled - is the notion that the B.C. Green Party has somehow vetoed the BC NDP government’s affordable childcare plans.

I’m fairly certain that the source of this misinformation is a recent article published in the Tyee by British Columbia anti-PR crusader Bill Tieleman for the purpose of spreading misgivings about proportional representation. The B.C. Greens did not, as Bill and Lynne claim, quash the NDP government’s affordable childcare agenda.

They merely suggested ways to enhance the $10/day childcare platform that the NDP campaigned on to make it more fair, more accessible to low-income parents, and easier to administer: namely, that the childcare be provided free for parents earning less than $80,000/year, and treated as a taxable benefit for those earning more.

This would result in increasing the accessibility of childcare to low-income parents, for whom the cost would be reduced, while high-income parents would contribute more as their means allow.

The B.C. Green proposals have been praised by both economists and childcare providers, and the NDP government has expressed an openness to this idea as well.

The B.C. government appears to be on track to launch one of Canada’s most ambitious childcare programs in the spring 2018 budget - hopefully with constructive contributions from the B.C. Green Party.

To me, this story represents the best of what co-operation among parties in a proportional legislature can look like.

- Jordan Bober, Charlottetown, is a member of the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation and a member of the Green Party of P.E.I.

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