Canadians should have a guaranteed annual income

Posted on December 19, 2013 in Child & Family Debates – Opinion/Letter
December 16, 2013.   Shloime Perel

Re: “Breaking the poverty cycle” (Extra, Dec. 14)

It is high time for the House of Commons to revisit the all-party motion it passed unanimously in 1989 in favour of ending child poverty in Canada by 2000, with the serious intention of finally implementing it.

According to Campaign 2000, a coalition dedicated to the House’s 1989 promise, one in seven Canadian children, or 967,000, live in poverty, with at least 22,000 children homeless. More than 1 million children in Canada experience food insecurity, and, of course linked to these children are a large number of very poor adults. These are numbers that represent a huge amount of human suffering.

This is a travesty in a country whose government’s main goal is the promotion and export of tarsands oil rather than the welfare of its citizens and of the environment.

What we need in Canada is a guaranteed annual income, to enable everyone in our country to afford the food, housing and clothing they need. There is no reason for a wealthy country as ours to have such a large homeless and food insecure population.

We need a new concept of economic social justice based on human need and equality rather than on the accumulation of huge amounts of wealth by individuals. In our system, the production of death-causing cigarettes and military equipment is considered make a positive contribution to the Canadian economy whereas raising children or volunteering in a hospital or food bank counts for nothing. We need a rethinking of constitutes the real world and what is just.

Shloime Perel, Montreal

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