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I read with much interest, appreciation and joy the recent two-part opinion piece presented in the media by Marie Burge, Laurie Michael and Michelle Pineau on behalf of the P.E.I. Working Group for a Livable Income on implementing a basic income guarantee on P.E.I.
It is wonderful that the legislative assembly of the province has accepted the great work of their all-party special committee on poverty in P.E.I., setting the scene for a way to eliminate poverty in our province.
We Islanders are very good at taking care of each other. We have seen this during this period of pandemic. We have seen this in the response with generosity and charity, to provide a festive meal to our impoverished families during Christmastime. Now we have the chance to make sure the poorest amongst us have all their basic needs taken care of, not only at Christmastime, but throughout the whole year.
Some will ask: Will we be able to pay for such an income guarantee? We have to, in all justice. Some of the present support programs would be phased out. Millionaires and billionaires need to be taxed to help provide for this need.
The $2,000 a month federal CERB program is like a preview of a basic income guarantee. But with CERB many people fell between the cracks. Not so with BIG, where a basic income would be guaranteed for all.
P.E.I. must go ahead with this initiative, even if the federal government drags it feet at this time. We recently celebrated Christmas, the birth of a poor child in a stable, he who would say “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me.”
May all responsible to implement this basic income guarantee find the support from the public to go ahead as rapidly as possible with this wonderful program.
Rev. Eddie Cormier,