NDP/Greens May Pay People NOT to Work.

Way back, in May 1971 when I moved to BC as a young fairly-new struggling reporter, I had a  young neighbour who seemed like an ordinary “Joe”, but was indeed very fortunate: no ordinary Joe!

While I was up at 6 a.m. five days a week … sometimes six , off to work,  just like most of you, getting home sometimes at 6 p.m. or later,  Joe” slept in at his leisure and then spent his day all summer at the beach or lounging with friends.

He had a GREAT tan by September and was certainly well-rested; I was a wreck, after pushing myself as a new inexperienced reporter at The Vancouver Sun, working the phones in my “spare” time to come up with story ideas etc. … many unpaid hours … nervously struggling to pass The Sun’s six-month “probation” period.

I did … but have to admit,  “Joe” seemed much less stressed and even more financially flushed than I was.

Then the rainy season came … and I was surprised: my neighbour found a job!

And he quite proudly explained to me his modus operandi:  he worked enough hours each Fall and Winter  and early Spring to qualify for Unemployment Insurance again  … and then he made sure he got laid off and enjoyed the Summer  on “UI” … which paid much better than welfare.

Sleeping in, sunning himself, enjoying lunch and I surmise more than a few beers with friends. While I … and you … worked and contributed to support him.

The only regular “work” he did over the Summer was to fill out and mail in his UI cards:  something along the lines of “Yes”, “Yes”, “No”, “Yes”.    If he did ANY  other work at all during the Summer … maybe for a few days …  it was for cash, under the table, to protect his Guaranteed Income scheme … I mean “UI” standing.

And THAT is what a Guaranteed Minimum Income could do … year round!  Pay people NOT to work … or if they want to maintain their eligibility, work only a bit.

Because it would be higher that Welfare … it would actually REWARD people without higher education, marketable skills … or drive … NOT to work ….  not just for the Summer, but YEAR ROUND!!

The BC NDP government has appointed a three-member panel of university types  to study a possible pilot project under which some people … possibly one entire town … would be GUARANTEED a basic income, without having to do anything … or, heaven forbid, even look for work.

It’s part of the payoff the NDP agreed to in return for support from the Greens last summer that allowed them to take power.

(By the way, this is a perfect example of the “blackmail”  by any number of smaller parties I warned about,  in another blog piece just weeks ago, if BC ever adopts the proportional representation system.)

And with only academics … one economist and two public policy types … on the study committee … not a single business or union rep or even a psychologist, sociologist or psychiatrist on the panel … I’m not too impressed.

But I’d bet “Joe” would be rubbing his hands with glee.

With BC’s minimum wage of  $12.65, and many jobs offering less than 32 hours a week (so the employer can avoid paying full benefits); and then you had to pay taxes, transit fares, travel for an hour or more … each way,  not to mention face higher clothing and cleaning bills yo go to work,  also prepare and pack a daily lunch and then put up with a crappy job or boss all day … wouldn’t YOU opt for a Guaranteed Minimum Income … if it came anywhere close to what you NETTED each week????

And let’s keep it real: if a Guaranteed Minimum Income is to truly be an improvement over Welfare and allow people to live at a decent standard, it will indeed have to pay MORE than welfare and approach what people who DO work for Minimum Wage are left with NET after they pay all the costs I’ve outlined before.

The basic Welfare system is not overly generous,  so most people who CAN work do try to seek employment; under a decent Guaranteed Income scheme, fewer would feel the pressure to do so.

To the contrary, more would instead be encouraged to sleep in, relax and become full-time “Joes”.

While the rest of us get up early, pack a lunch,  pay higher transit fees, then work all day and probably pay even higher taxes to support them all year round.

Harv Oberfeld

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43 Responses to NDP/Greens May Pay People NOT to Work.

  1. Marge says:

    My husband can’t even get Canadian young people to work in his construction company. If he does as he tries all the time, they work for a couple of days and always ask for an advance on pay, then leave to buy drugs. So he now hires mostly foreign workers (and pays them well) as they show up to do the job. However he keeps hoping to find Canadian youngsters who actually want to work and looking. So far not good.

    As for a guaranteed income, it will mean that things will only get worse. We will have an influx of lazy people from all over Canada who would love to live here and get paid for it. Canadian youngsters will stay in their parents’ basements playing video games all day long and get paid for it too. What kind of a crazy world do they want to create? Good intentions but lousy outcomes.

    (Response: I agree … and THAT’s the problem Horgan and company should address: jobs that go begging or require foreign workers because British Columbians who CAN work just don’t want to … esp if it involves physical labour. Under Guaranteed Income, things will get even worse, esp in and near the communities that qualify for free pay … WHY WORK if, after all your costs are paid out, and after three or four days of going in, you end up with only $50 (or less?) more than if you just stayed home and collected. And if they allow “some work” , that makes it even more divisive among the province’s workers. And it would also probably cost taxpayers a hundred million dollars a year once you include bureaucracy costs to “administer” the scheme. Totally ridiculous … except apparently to those in government and academia. h.o.)

  2. D. M. Johnston says:

    The main problems I see is automation and the loss of jobs due to automation and a cessation of government subsidies to what was once good politcal friends, such as Bombardier/SNC Lavalin, the trucking industry, and the oil and gas companies.

    Automation is the big one and in the next 25 years, uncontrolled automation may do away with over 50% of current jobs.

    So, what is a government going to do with the unemployed? Let them starve and die in the streets like our neighbours down south?

    I know there is a certain number of people in Canada would welcome such a thing but the long term consequences will be horrific.

    My old history teacher once said; “if 30% of the people are dissatisfied with the government, change will happen, either in the voting booth or the streets, but if more people become dissatisfied with the government, change will come in the streets.

    What we happening now is a tepid look at change; change that is greatly needed to avert street lead regime change.

    (Response: I too have seen the stories predicting automation will do away with many jobs. BC is primarily a resource extraction, fishery, timber and agricultural harvesting economy … But I’ve witnessed mining operations and forestry operations both in the field and in at the mills: believe me BC automation and high productivity is way ahead of its time. The automation you speak of will be more of a concern in Ontario, Quebec and the US … where future production and assembly “improvements” are indeed a concern Let THEM spend the hundreds of millions to experiment with this latest idea … not BC, where we already have enough ordinary Joes who CAN work just “working” the system instead. h.o.)

  3. Art Smith says:

    Harvey, very interesting essay. I find it funny that politicians and ivory tower intellectuals are so willing to have people become parasites who are beholden to the state for their livelihoods, much easier to control, I guess.
    Rather than help them up through education or apprenticeships or even helping them to relocate for work, they would rather just create an underclass of spongers. who will be looked down upon by people who choose to work for a living and go about doing so.
    We will always have “Joes” who game the system without making it a part of our society that even more tax dollars go to support.

    (Response: I have tried to understand the reasoning that there may be certain communities/towns where there is very little prospect for full employment. Well, then why not do what most our grandparents or great grandparents have done … even if it meant going thousands of miles … MOVE to where the jobs are???? Don’t just sit there hoping for a “salary” to do nothing! h.o)

  4. nonconfidencevote says:

    Ah yes the guaranteed living wage….
    One of many ridiculous “pie in the sky” socialist ‘experiments” that decimated Ontario’s Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne at the polls in June’s election.
    The voters were so disgusted at her endless pandering to unaffordable gender equality, socially acceptable, taxpayer funded drivel…..not to mention Hydro rates that drove thousands of companies away…..
    They kicked her out.
    The BC NDP will follow the same fate if they agree to this “welfare no work day ” lunacy.
    Unaffordable, unaccountable, asinine, knee jerk pandering to the screeching caterwalling of the unwashed hairshirt crowd that smash the machines while demanding cashless direct payment at Starbucks for their $5 lattes.

    I cant wait til dope is legal.
    Perhaps some BC Bud will suck the last vestiges of any semblance of initiative out of the protesters who seem to infest every corner of the Province.
    Cut them off welfare and give them dope….then let them pay their own way for a year……

    Is Horgan really that stupid?

    (Response: The composition of the “panel”. in my opinion is totally inadequate. Giving some people a guaranteed living income to sleep in , watch tv, go to the pub … with absolutely no need to even look for work … could cause serious labour, societal and even geographic conflicts and divisions … and yet ALL three panel members, as I understand it, live on the public payroll. Ridiculous, stacked, and bureaucracy heavy I’d say! h.o.)

  5. e.a.f. says:

    I’m GOOD with a guaranteed income. I see it as a supplement to people who work at low paying jobs to keep them above poverty level. I don’t see it as a subsidy for lay a bouts.

    Yes, I remember the U.I. ski team, golf team, swim team. Worked at the U.I. back in the early 1970s. Having seen some of those who joined the teams, who would have wanted them at their place of employment. They weren’t suited for much to begin with.

    there was a project, back in the day which experimented with a guaranteed income. having read the report and comments by some years later, it was life changing.

    What is interesting in this is the low opinion people have of their fellow citizens, lazy, dope smoking, etc. Having worked for 10 years at U.I., back in the day, what I found was the majority of people actually wanted to work. Since then, some 40 years later, I still have the same opinion, most people want to work.

    As to having every not wanting to work person come out to B.C., its very easy, rules and regs. We do need to do something because as we all know, a lot of people are working full time and still have to go stand in line at the food bank to feed their families. Look at the cost of housing, gas, food, etc. You can work, full time and still not make ends meet. Telling people to get better jobs is not a starter for many. What they do is all they can do. Not every one is going to be a professional nor wants to be or has the intellect to be one. Some one has to wash the dishes, serve coffee, change tires, etc. Their children should not have to pay for that through a lack of food, clothing and decent housing.

    As to Wynne getting tossed, it most likely had more to do with her sex education program than anything else. Parents were outraged, who knows why, but they were.

    My suggestion is; have a look at it. How it would work, how it would be paid for, who would benefit, etc. Then let the voters of the province perhaps have a say, not at the ballot box but by a mail in vote.

    Would this min. guaranteed income be good for children? Would it help the disabled?

    We will always have the dead beats, the I don’t want to work ones with us. they’re easy to spot. As to every one who remembers the person who ripped off U.I. How many of you ever reported them? NO ONE. the tips we usually got were from ex wives, etc.

    Over the decades the various levels of government has handed out corporate welfare by way of incentives, tax rebates, tax cuts, tax whatevers worth hundreds of billions. What’s wrong with the bum at the end of the street doing nothing. Its not like some of those companies did anything for Canada. How many billion did they say Canadians had secreted away off shore? How much did they say they would have to pay in taxes? and some of you are worried about some person getting a few dollars they weren’t entitled to?

    (Response: I’d have no problem with them having a look at the idea … IF: IF BC’s economy was heavily based on manufacturing, which could be threatened by automation: IF it wasn’t possibly just a new way to buy off people in rural areas or small towns where the NDP feels it can buy votes; IF the panel was better constituted … including business, union representatives and even sociologists … not just all of them academics on the public payroll. h.o.)

  6. Steve Cooley says:

    I remembered that this has been tested at least once in Canada. Look up Daulphine Manitoba (not sure of the spelling of the Manitoba town). The overall result was positive, in spite of the deadbeats who ‘got away with it’. This experiment was stopped before conclusive proof was found, but not before it was found to be better than any U.I. scheme or welfare system.

    (Response: Yes, other places have tried….one program is being experimented with in Ontario industrial communities of Hamilton, Brantford, Thunder Bay and Lindsay: “single participants will receive $16,989 annually and couples will receive $24,027. People making other income will see this amount reduced by 50 cents for every dollar earned. Participants with disabilities are eligible for another $6,000 per year,” says the Huffington Post. Put that into place in some BC communities … and there will be NO incentive to even try to seek full-time work….or move to find it. h.o)

  7. nonconfidencevote says:

    God bless e.a.f.
    Always the alternate viewpoint.
    Wynne booted for sex ed in schools?
    Angry parents were her downfall?
    Nice try.
    Something about skyrocketing Hydro costs, skyrocketing real estate prices, thousands of job losses….All while she fiddled with “social equality” issues that werent important to the voters she so arrogantly ignored.
    Doug Ford? Please. A blind , three legged dog could have beat her.
    Dont you see voters ALL OVER THE WORLD that have become absolutely disgusted with the governing status quo and their ridiculously unaffordable social equality experiments funded by ever rising taxes?
    Do you like paying taxes to all levels of govts that constantly spend more than they recieve in taxes.
    “Uh oh, gotta raise taxes again. sorry folks”
    Who, ultimately, is going to pay for the latest social experiment?
    Thus we have minority govts, coalition govts, endless elections, Brexit, resignations,
    Its a mess and its only getting worse.

    I pay enough in taxes , thank you very much and I see enough healthy, clean, well dressed, young, beggars on the streets now……why encourage more to move here?
    As Marge says, try and find young kids today that are willing to work. Impossible.
    I hired a kid last Fall, 27 yrs old, 6ft 3, 250 lbs. Healthy as a horse. I paid him $20/hr for unskilled labour with the promise to pay him more after 3 months if things worked out.
    Late every day( 30-45 minutes ) and his often repeated excuse,”I overslept”.
    Sick without calling in (always on a Monday or a Friday).
    Would never take the initiative. Never lifted a finger unless told to do so. Constantly bragging about the previous nights video gaming “victories”.
    A smart, well spoken kid with the maturity of a 12 year old. After 3 months I laid him off because firing someone is far far more difficult.
    After sitting at home for 3 weeks…..His Dad realized something was wrong and phoned me to give him his job back and THAT is part of the problem.
    Helicopter parents running to juniors defense everytime they fail.
    My god! The kid is 27 years old and his daddy was phoning to get his job back! Pathetic if it wasnt so typical of our times.
    I said to his dad, ” Maybe he should put more priority into his job status rather than his video games he constantly brags about. He’s your 250lb lump in the basement. Not mine”
    And I hung up.
    An entire generation of kids that have been told “Good job!” over and over and over and when someone critisizes their lousy work ethic…….they wilt like a funeral wreath at an exorcism.
    I dont know where this country is going but social experiments like “living wages” are making us the laughing stock of the countries that will eventually overtake us and eat us for lunch…… ie China.
    And I will vote against any Party that supports such lunacy.

    (Response: Sad story. By the way Finland tried a Guaranteed Basic Income plan for two years …and then cancelled it. You can read all about that here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/23/finland-to-end-basic-income-trial-after-two-years. h.o)

  8. Harry Lawson says:


    How can we in BC even consider a minimum income when we can’t even give people on social service disability a living benefit ? These are truly people in need .

    What will be the ramifications on the cost of living as well as taxes?

    Would the money be better spent on social services and housing ?

    A old mentor of mine always used to say you can’t have socialism with out capitalism. Because some one has to pay for it.

    I remember Carol James one time saying People need a hand up not a hand out. Is a gauranteed income a hand up , a hand out ,or just a fuel for inflationary cost ?

    (Response: Good points and great questions. Read this from The Tyee: “That total debt figure has grown steadily, from $33.8 billion in 2001 when the BC Liberals came to power, to $45.2 billion in 2011 when Clark became premier, to $66.7 billion in the fiscal year that just ended. The February budget projected the total provincial debt would keep rising to $77.7 billion by 2020”. That is NOT good news! And this is already facing us while many, many programs for the poor and seniors and health care are struggling to keep up. Adding a NEW MORE GENEROUS support scheme (otherwise what’s the point …who would apply for it?) would add hundreds of millions more to government costs/commitments over the years. And maybe even force cuts in other programs to bolster the NDP government’s new “fast ferry” type fiasco. h.o.)

  9. nonconfidencevote says:

    I remember being on UI in the early 80’s.
    It wasn’t fun and the only thing worse was being treated like a lazy layabout by the govt employees at the UI office that Lorded their authority over you.
    Every UI office I went into was loaded with people waiting to see their “caseworker” . 45 minutes to wait was typical while the UI workers all seemed to be at the back of the room standing around the coffee machine.
    I remember going into the Fraser and 49th st office in early 85 and was amazed that there were no lineups and the staff were efficient and courteous.
    “What gives with this”, I asked another “client” as I gestured at the 5 minute wait times, “These places are usually packed.”.
    “Oh”, said the person waiting, ” 2 weeks ago some guy snapped at the 1.5 hour wait and grabbed a fire axe off the wall and proceeded to smash, every computer on the counter, chopped up desks, filing cabinets, trashed the place and left”

    The result?

    Polite efficient govt. workers doing the job they were PAID to do…….

  10. DBW says:

    I have no idea if I would support some form of guaranteed income, but I am certainly in favour of having a look.

    First, as per your headline, we already pay people not to work – welfare and unemployed insurance have been around for years. This may just be a different, more efficient way of spending those dollars.

    Second, everybody has a “Joe” story only in my case it was a “Jolene” who was playing the system while I was struggling at university. By the time I had graduated and started my career, she had figured out what she was going to do and has had a very successful career as an artist. There will always be abusers of whatever system we have in place. Are you sorry, you didn’t work hard to get to where you did as a journalist. I am not sorry about my choice.

    Third, in your response to e.a.f. you suggest that only the manufacturing sector is at risk. But automation has changed agriculture in multiple ways. I recently read an article about driverless vehicles putting truckers out of work in the mining industry. Service jobs are at risk.

    Fourth, the three academics, I would hope, should be talking to businessmen, union reps, social workers etc. while they are taking the two years to study the issue.

    Maybe what they find out will be pie in the sky nonsense, maybe it will be a society game changer. I have no problem supporting the study to find out and then drawing my conclusions.

    (Response: Perhaps you didn’t notice, but I already pointed out that another comment that BC has already undergone a lot of “improvements” ie automation in the fields of agriculture, mining, lumber etc. so it’s not likely that the biggest future “improvements” will occur in those fields but in manufacturing and assembly plants…much more of a concern in Ontario and Quebec than in BC. But you are correct …we already pay people who aren’t working through Employment Insurance and Welfare. If those rates need to be increased, so be it. However under both those programs, people who can work are expected to look for work…even encouraged to move to where the jobs are. BUT a guaranteed minimum income scheme is quite different … individuals (or entire communities) who could work are paid MORE than welfare rates and don’t have to do ANYTHING …not even look for jobs …to collect that higher income. That certainly is NOT fair to those on EI or Welfare …from whom more is expected …or to taxpayers who DO work and would now also be expected to pay even higher taxes (the deficit/debt are already increasing!) to support people who aren’t even asked to try to find jobs. It would be do-gooder Socialism run wild! h.o)

  11. Steve Cooley says:

    Guaranteed minimum income is a program that was enacted in Manitoba many years ago. Daulphine was where it was done (not sure of the spelling). A summary of the program is found on Wikipedia. It bred no more deadbeats than any other welfare system and it resulted in more children having better health and education than conventional welfare.

  12. Gene The Bean says:

    This has all the makings of a bunch of old farts yelling at kids to get off their lawn.

    I think every single generation in history has railed against those that follow – no one had to walk to school, uphill, both ways, like us….. right?

    Everyone has stories, everyone has heard of the bad, the worse – and maybe even the good. One of my volunteer gigs has me interacting with a lot of school age kids. Some are monsters, some are not. I always engage them as an adult, ask them probing questions and never just answer their questions, I challenge them to figure it out, work it through, make a conclusion and have an opinion. Sometimes it actually works! I honestly have a bigger problem with the self engaged parents with their noses buried in their phones.

    So before you belittle an entire generation, ask yourself what are YOU doing to make it better.

    Back to the topic, our social systems are so broken now because of right wing politics. The gleeful pursuit of the almighty dollar has broken a large portion of our populace. I don’t have the answers but what I do know is we have to stop electing governments that demonize the sick, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the mentally challenged and people with non-white skin tones.

    I am not in favour of guaranteed minimum income but I am willing to look at anything at this point. The system is broken. Doing nothing is no longer an option.

    EI and welfare needs to be looked at top to bottom. The “situation” that has led a person to ask for it is lacking. Just throwing money at ‘things’ rarely if ever fixes the real problem.

    I am lucky enough to have never taken a day of EI. I never begrudged having to pay premiums though, even if I knew I’d probably never need it because I knew other people did need it.

    Not everyone on welfare is a bum. Not everyone on EI is lazy. Not every 25 year old is a lump in mommy’s basement. Respect begets respect – if you want it, try giving a little more of it.

    (Response: Not sure where you get the idea we’re belittling an entire generation: talk about over-reaching!! Both I and several commenters have acknowledged there are many people who are unable to work for various reasons and deserve fair assistance. Guaranteed Income is something else: where certain individuals or those living in some job-challenged communities would get paid to just sit there and do nothing. That’s certainly not “an entire generation”. Geez! And neither is yelling get off my lawn to suggest … politely … that maybe, perhaps, if it’s not too stressful that people who are quite capable of working but areliving in places where there are few jobs and difficult prospects to get off their asses and move to other places where they are hiring! Rather than just sit there and expect those who are working to reward them with a standard of living ABOVE those on EI or Welfare who would love to work if they could. h.o.)

  13. Harry Lawson says:

    Mr Bean #12

    Our social systems are not broken because of right wing politics alone , it is also broken because of the extreme left as well .both the left and the right has a lot to answer for. Extremism has no place in the deliverance of any government programming period .

  14. e.a.f. says:

    Thank you Steve. that was the town I was thinking of. It did work and it demonstrated people who want to work, will work and dead beats will always be dead beats. One case in the study had a couple who actually did study art and went on to earn a living as artists for the remainder of these lives. Guaranteed incomes are good for children and the disabled. It allows them to live with dignity and get a leg up in life.

    Non confidence at #7, thank you……… I think…..its nice to be thought of some times//////

    That 27 yr old kid you hired. Wouldn’t have kept him on after twice being late for work. People like him aren’t good for your business. My opinion, keep them out of the work force, they’ll screw up your company. Its cheaper to pay them to not work. who knows at some future date they may figure it out. Most people will figure out what they want to do. Having watched young people figure it out, has been entertaining, but most of them got there. They have jobs, houses, cars, families. Some kids/young people are just works in progress and don’t hit their stride until their late 20s or early 30s.

    Some of it is bad parenting and parents who hov…oh, now I know why they call them helicopter parents. What they forget to do is tell their kids how to find a job, keep a job, and a whole lot of other things. Many young people today don’t know how to do a lot of things because they were never taught. But then when you look back, there have always been those who will work and those who won’t.

    Can hardly wait for BMCQ to voice his opinion…..

  15. Diverdarren says:

    Harvey, what a great idea. An idea so great that basic income has not made it past experimental trials in any jurisdiction. And that includes some places where socialism is their form of government.

    I do hope that this government fact finding committee costs us taxpayers millions of dollars to examine another way to give the bums the hard earned money of the province’s producers.

    Chair David Green, UBC and Fellow at the Broadbent Institute
    Professor J. Rhys Kesselman, SFU and another fellow of the Broadbent Institute.
    Professor Lindsay Tedds, U of Calgary, formerly of U Vic. Not a Broadbent Fellow, but was appointed to a BC Government task force by Carrol James. A taskforce that recommend, ” eliminating British Columbia’s homeowner grant, taxing non-alcoholic drinks and introducing a value-added tax similar to the rejected harmonized sales tax.”
    Kamloops Matters, June 14, 2018.

    I’m sure we all know which way The Broadbent Institute leans. Their Directors include, Ed Broadbent (of course), Dawn Black, and Patti Bacchus (formerly).

    I can’t wait to read the committee’s report. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat to read their findings. What will they conclude?
    I also hope the Auditor General’s report on this great social experiment comes out just prior to the next provincial election, so that we can all be reminded of how the NDP looks at fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers of this province.

    We already have welfare in this province, and if it’s done one thing it’s allowed BC taxpayers to meet amazing migrants from across this great land we call Canada. Great future producers from Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes using “short term” BC Welfare system until their inevitable success ship comes in.

    If we want to do something, then let’s focus our governmental “brain trust” to improving the welfare program. One simple idea. Instead of giving cash to a drug addicted welfare bum and expecting them to budget their finances, why not give a portion of the welfare cheque as “food stamps” so that at least that portion of the taxpayers generous gift can only be spent on food instead of crack.

    (Response: I would not refer to people on EI or Welfare bums: many are decent people who have serious medical or skills problems or have just run into employment difficulties because of layoffs, shutdowns etc and just can’t get new jobs. I have no problem with helping support them. My disagreement is the idea of encouraging people to stop trying to find work or moving to where the jobs are because they would be paid higher than welfare just to sit home. h.o)

  16. DBW says:

    I will make one more comment before leaving it to the rest of you.

    We have a committee set up to look into a guaranteed income. While the topic is interesting we are arguing about something that may or may not look like what we are arguing about.

    Having said that, I am curious about what the committee will actually be looking at. We are in the process of raising the minimum wage to $15/hour or $30,000/year. The guaranteed income proposed in Ontario was $17000.

    Right now people on welfare get $710/month or $8500/year while people on disability get $1133/month or $13,500 a year. How they survive is beyond me.

    If we were to raise those rates so they would be closer to $17000 would that be reason enough for someone not to look for a minimum wage job that would double their yearly income.

    Don’t know the answer. Hopefully the committed will offer suggestions to improve our social assistance program whatever form it may take.

    Lastly, not to defend Gene who makes sweeping generalizations about conservatives, but he is right about the sweeping generalizations made about young people. I have commented on this in the past.

    Already we have two commentators say the following.

    “try and find young kids today that are willing to work. Impossible.”

    “However he keeps hoping to find Canadian youngsters who actually want to work and looking. So far not good.”

    (Response: I don’t know personally any of the panel members…but it sure looks one-sided, unbalanced to me … which will strain the credibility of their report with me if they recommend ANYTHING favouring trying or even giving further consideration/study of the topic. h.o.)

  17. 13 says:

    Hard to keep a straight face, thinking about welfare on steroids. BC will have people lined up to get the application.
    Lets look at one example of someone that received a guaranteed income. Gentleman named Larry (edited …h.o) . Not sure what he did for a living but even in his old age Larry received his guaranteed income. His income guarantee came from his unexplained drive and ambition to house and feed himself without EVER going on the dole. Yes Larry’s old fashioned work ethic and a bit of even older fashioned pride kept his income guaranteed. Even doing security work in his advanced years to help pay his rent and buy food. What reward awaited Larry? He rented an affordable apt. in Burnaby in one of the doomed 3 story apartment blocks. One of the ones renoviction Derek (edited..h.o) Corrigan told Larry and the thousands of other seniors that they would need to look for alternate accommodations as nothing would stand in the way of his densification plans
    God help Larry and the many other seniors that worked there whole life in private sector jobs. No defined indexed inflation adjusted pension. Just CPP and OAP . Just enough to afford that damned crumby 3 story walk up.
    I cant believe the arrogance of some people that buy into this guaranteed income crap. Obviously your not in a retirement senario like Larry (edited..h.o). Sure ease your guilt. Allow the NDP to tax others that are not lucky enough to look forward to their gold plated public sector retirement. Makes me sick

  18. e.a.f. says:

    Larry, at 17, you gave the e.g. of the man who worked and worked and then was renovked. A guaranteed income would be a good thing for him. There are all sorts of people who would benefit from it and that includes many who work for low wages. Do not think people will just sit at home and do nothing. Having lived amongst people who made very little money, i.e. min. wage, saw them get up and go to work each and every day. they made about the same as those on welfare, but those who wanted to work, did. Now it was to their benefit to work, even at a min wage job because their housing charges were based on % of their income and those on welfare had the whole housing portion used as their “rent”. They actually paid more than those working. Its the incentives which cause people to work and how it “works” for them.

    A guaranteed income for disabled persons might work very well. it would enable them to work if they could and improve their income because right now, what they receive as their income is simply disgustingly low.

  19. Jay Jones says:

    Wasn’t required for BC to reach world-class standing, can’t see why it would be expected to help return the province to that standing.

    Best to go back to doing what was done to reach world-class standing.
    Things like top quality youth/senior programs, top quality education and financial assistance that truly assists. What the fark is with $750 monthly financial assistance (or whatever the spit-in-the-face is) in the second most expensive place in the world? How the hell is a person supposed to eat, pay rent, buy nice clothes and get to interviews with that spit-in-the-face? That’s equivalent to parents giving their teenager a 5 cent monthly allowance.

    What this province needs most in order to return to world-class standing is world-class political leadership. Anything less is to province what toddlers, teenagers or low quality parenting is to household.

    How to reach and sustain a world-class standing is well documented on this and several other blogs. The information just needs to be organized and followed. Step one is top quality education. The education system is in need of a major upgrade to bring it into the 21st century. Pumping out great doctors is nice and all, however, to return to world-class standing the education system needs to once again pump out top quality political and business leadership on a regular basis.

    World-class regions don’t just magically remain world-class because people hope they will. Doing world-class things on a regular basis is of course required.

  20. Hawgwash says:

    Harvey, to stay on topic, I’m in agreement with DBW at post 10 and his pointing out automation job loss is not confined to manufacturing.

    I seem to recall once upon a time you wrote about self-serve check outs. If you didn’t then I’m pointing out that area of greed driven automation.

    Two examples that have come to light recently, in retail, designed to ensure larger dividends to the Walton family; Walmart introduced robots to patrol the aisles taking stock of items on shelves, not on shelves and on the wrong shelves. The sad irony in this was how Walmart manipulated staff to embrace the robots as “part of the team.” They all had big grin glossy photos taken and were encouraged to come up with names for the new family members.

    The second, another Walmart initiative at Sam’s Club; an app used to scan your items as you pick them off the shelf and immediately charge them to your credit card. Some people are hailing this as the best smart phone app, ever.

    Now to go off topic, slightly, with three perspectives from “young people” employees, in a discussion at an outdoor gathering just a week or so ago.
    Employee 1 was complaining about the new “young people” hire who, during their first 60 days, was absent more days than long term employees took off in a year. The position was the young crowd were not serious about working.
    Employee 2 argued from the perspective of an admitted slacker, that employers, in general, no longer respected or offered any incentive that encouraged employee dedication.
    Employee 3 commuted 2 hours to and 2 hours from her five hour shift at Tsawwassen Mills. That five hour shift meant no benefits. Not even a “lunch” period. She was given the title of assistant manager which carried more responsibility and a whopping fifty cents an hour above the clerk position. She knew she was being used but would endure it long enough to be able to show a sustained period as “assistant manager” on her resume.

    We’ve come a long way baby.

    (Response: The two examples you raise … self check outs and taking stock on shelves … do indeed have an impact on employment. However, in terms of the overall economy, those are peanuts compared with the impact automation and artificial intelligence developments will have on huge factories that manufacture all kinds of products from thousands of consumer goods to large machinery. No doubt the places that are heavily invested in those operations pose a long term societal concern for governments, but BC just isn’t in that league where guaranteed incomes to NOT work need be even considered. Better we should encourage unemployed to find work (even if they have to move to other cities or provinces) and improving existing services for those who can’t work but really need help, without giving up and just sitting watching tv and letting the government pay them to do so. h.o.)

  21. Ross Doherty says:

    will that also apply to retirees if so i can start spending my savings now.

    (Response: No, no, no! Someone would have to pay for those privileged to qualify (who could work but don’t want to move or even look) and yet, who the government feels should get higher than welfare rates to live on. That Guaranteed Basic Income will have to be paid for by raising taxes again, I believe, on those who are working, on businesses and even those who are retired and by cutting back on services, or at least any further hikes on “frills” … like benefits for the truly needy, like the handicapped, the truly poor and the unemployable homeless. So keep working and keep saving … the government will need it some day. h.o)

  22. Gene The Bean says:

    Glad my little (slightly off topic) rant stirred the pot and has you thinking about young people and how they are looked at and treated now a’days.

    I agree with Harvey when he says a guaranteed income could/would just be a gold plated welfare and possibly de-incentify those looking for work. It is still worth looking at though. We need to look at the big picture and stop short term, election cycle style thinking.

    Work ….. lets chat about that for a second. When we were all young, we worked and were treated as a valuable resource. I once worked in a restaurant for $1.75 an hour ….. but we were given a dinner and a free taxi ride home every night. The boss treated us well and appreciated us – he even gave us birthday and Christmas presents – it was a win win.

    Fast forward to today. Minimum wage employers treat their workers like endentured slaves. They do everything they can to avoid treating them as employees, shorting hours so they dont have to give benefits, nickle and diming everything they do.

    I know two young people that between them have five jobs. FIVE. That is the only way they can make enough money. They dont have health or dental coverage and are treated like semi-disposable crap.

    Am I surprised when they treat their ‘job’ like it isnt that important – no. Because that is how they are treated. Generalizations sure, but it sort of makes sense.

    The CEO’s and senior executives, the mutual fund managers and bank big-wigs dont really need a second vacation home. The corporatists have swung the pendulum so far out of reach for anyone not well educated and well connected that some folks wont put up with it – hence the need for a foreign workers program.

    The 1%ers are eating all of our lunches and have brainwashed almost half the population into thinking the fairy tale of low taxes, corporate tax cuts and incentives and trickle down works for ‘normal’ people. It is the biggest con ever.

    I’m not convinced a guaranteed income is the solution.

    But I am convinced what we have been doing for the last twenty years is the cause.

  23. D. Malcolm Johnston says:

    As most commenting here look at yesterday to justify there opinions, let us look 3 minutes into the future.

    We have now massive camps for the unemployed in Canada and the United States. The poverty is real and has now become endemic.

    What are we to do?

    If a guaranteed minimum income were to be made law, it would replace the vast majority of welfare programs we currently have today and thus would not be overly costly.

    The real problem is jobs and from what I see, jobs, real jobs is the real problem.

    Back in the early 70’s I wrote my final grade 12 exam and worked Afternoon shift, pulling chain at Eburne sawmills.

    Those jobs are gone.

    What we call jobs, slinging chips at Micky D’s or working for a gypo, who undercuts his competition by paying cheap wages, flaunting worker rules and changing employees as often as I change socks.

    Quality jobs are hard to come by.

    A guaranteed income is going to happen because the government is going to have choice, have people who have the basics to survive or face mob rule by those whose time and circumstance has passed them by.

    What really needs to happen is a government which once again represents the people and not big corporations and it will take several major riots for that to happen.

    (Response: If Guaranteed Income is adopted in some “test” communities, good luck to employers there in the retail or restaurant or hospitality fields trying to find workers! And if people on the receiving end are allowed to work part-time, how is that fair to those who work full time for the same net take home pay … or even less! Not to mention those who will take the G.I. and then also work for cash under the table. Ka-ching! h.o.)

  24. SB says:

    Support idea as far as a method to help underpaid or underemployed and those seeking education and training and some in circumstances such as disabled or such .
    I have 4 kids adults now all either in university or working hard and they struggle but all work hard housing and costs of living is far more than any of our generations paid so I can see where a system that would assist them would help but only those earning their way.
    The unemployable or ones with addiction other issues is a whole different story legalize support ways to rehab not all will improve but with a chance to improve life I’m sure a number will the savings come in social medical and policing costs we need more than one issue solved.

    (Response: As I understand it, Guaranteed Income schemes are not to be used to provide more/better student funding to and your suggestion of using it to supplement underpaid employees, while compassionate, would only encourage private business employers to offer low, low salaries so the government would subsidize the worker’s take-home … increasing profits for the companies but adding costs to the taxpayers. No way! h.o.)

  25. John's Aghast says:

    Well Bean, you were worth a whole lot more than me! I worked as a butcher at Safeway for $0.75 / hr. Mind you, gasoline was only $0.50/gallon (10 cents/litre). Now gasoline is approaching 20 times that, but thankfully my wages are 40 times what they were!
    And in those ‘old days’ there wasn’t any welfare, much less ‘guaranteed income’.

  26. Ed Seedhouse says:

    I imagine you, Harv, have refused to take your OAP and CPP money because you would never be one to live off money sent to you to “do nothing”, right?

    I am on OAP and CPP, as well as a municipal pension myself, so I guess I’m just living high of the hog on my welfare checks. Me the Welfare King, except I don’t seem to have a Caddy, or any kind of car for that matter…

    But complaining about welfare recipients seems to be a main occupation of us Old Age Pensioners, apparently. That and shouting at the kids on *our* lawns.

    (Response: Glad you raised the CPP and OAS…that’s exactly the point: EVERYONE who qualifies can collect those ands in the case of CPP, it’s based on what they paid into it while they were working .. not just a few, privileged favoured types who may have barely or never worked at all getting MORE than welfare pays in a vote-buying scheme in what would probably be ridings the NDP hold or has ambitions. The millions that Guaranteed Income fiasco would cost would be MUCH better spent on INCREASING pensions, INCREASING welfare, INCREASING drug treatment programs ..and maybe… here’s a unique idea…maybe paying DOWN the deficit? h.o.)

  27. 13 says:

    Bean sweeping generalizations based on your personal bias 4th paragraph

    Ghastly, your hourly wage and the price of gas dont add up.
    1969 I worked at Mcds on Robson at Bidwell. $1.25 per hour.Gas could be had for 36cents per gallon. I cant imagine rotten ronnies paying more perhour than Safeway

    eaf “Larry” is retired. Are you saying that we are going to pay seniors a “living wage” on top of their ever so generous CPP and OAP?

  28. Harry Lawson says:


    If a gauranteed income plan is to work it needs to be national and costed for the regional variance Thus it should be federal.

    We would be better off with a simplified tax form and no tax after a set amount of money . No user fee’s etc .

  29. Hawgwash says:

    Well, some might say this is irrelevant here, but I say it suits probably 80% of Harveys poliposts.
    Rather than steal the link, I’ll just send ou all over to Norm’s place instead; https://in-sights.ca/2018/07/12/too-stupid-for-democracy/
    Gene, I think you will approve.

  30. Hawgwash says:

    Harry Lawson at 28, can you clarify this, please; “no tax after a set amount of money.”

  31. hoberfeld says:


    Published your comment on the Proportional Rep blog piece done recently.


  32. Harry Lawson says:

    Hawgwash #30

    I should have written no tax payable on the first say $ 20.000.

    I can only blame the heat for the error lol

  33. nonconfidencevote says:

    “….here’s a unique idea…maybe paying DOWN the deficit? h.o.)”

    The Federal Liberals tried that and voters became bored with the whole idea of “fiscal responsibility”….
    I seem to recall PM Jean Cretiens Finance Minister Paul Martin reduced the ever expanding debt ( remember the Debt Clock?) from $600 Billion to $475 Billion before Harper ratched it back up.
    And now Trudeau is burning through taxpayer billions like an arsonist at a gasoline factory.

    Garanteed income? To help people get ahead?
    How can the govt promise that when none of the three levels of trough snuffing hogs can balance a chequebook?
    Unaffordable financial lunacy to buy votes on the backs of the taxpayers ….and “news flash’…..the voters aint “buying it”…..
    Try something else socialists….that idea is dead in the water and will cost you the next election.
    Perhaps try something totally unexpected for a change like……balancing the budget?

    (Response: If they try Guaranteed Income in BC, I wonder If Vegas (or BC casinos) will take bets on how much OVER BUDGET in multiples of tens of millions of dollars the scheme will cost over, say, five years, compared to original budgeted amounts. I see another NDP fast ferry fiasco here …. even worse, because if the NDP starts handing out higher amounts of $$$ to healthy, able people without their even having to try to look for jobs, GUARANTEED the Liberals will have a field day with voters who DO work … some for not very high salaries … and pay taxes or those struggling on lesser Welfare rates or disability or seniors’ pensions. h.o.)

  34. Gene The Bean says:

    Hawg #29 – thanks.

    Folk singers just make me cringe – and not in a good way. It was funny though. “I think we are too stupid for democracy” isn’t too far from the truth.

    In reality, do we even live in a democracy? Corporations, multi-nationals, foreign governments, billionaires and corporatist cabals buy and run the government. They not only influence but they ‘make’ policy to benefit themselves and to keep everyone else “in their place”. Just like the billionaire BC Liberal back room bagman that is funding the NO campaign on electoral reform. It threatens his control over the ‘system’. A lot of examples close to home, starting with BC Rail. I know a couple of you are just to thick or masochistic to recognize it and would gleefully put your descendants into a far worse situation than what you had – because you think ‘your’ side is ‘winning’.

    Does that fit anyones definition of a democracy?

    Harry at #28 makes an excellent point as well – a simplified tax system. Remember Hong Kong prior to China taking it back. One of the best run governments ever, flush with cash, providing excellent services to its constituents. How? They had a simlified tax system that was essentially a one-pager. If I recall I think it was a straight 17.5% tax on income, period. No deductions, loopholes or scams. Li Kai Shing paid the same rate as the seamstress. So instead of our system where millionaires and billionaires pay essentially no tax – and regular working people like us having to pay all the tax …. what seems fairer to you?

    Harvey – response to #33 … “BC casinos” … do I smell a future topic there….? I’m sure Rich Coleman (that bastion of honesty and law and order) would love to hear our opinions on how ‘our’ government supported organized crime and dirty offshore money to stay in power….

  35. Sid Evans says:

    Okay interesting topic Harvey, first thing I would like to see is a raise regarding welfare and disability rates. Thank you Harvey for bringing up that point as well. Unfortunately the damage that was done over the course of the last 17-18 years at the hands of the BC conservative-liberal party who have decimated this once great province. Between Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark dismantling, selling off and bankrupting one of the finest profit making publicly owned Crown corporations in the world. To that disgusting sale of another very profitable publicly owned Railway BC rail. To the countless construction projects with the massive cost overruns that would always get awarded to the same companies ie; the Port Mann Bridge, the convention center. To the massive rise in real estate prices brought on by organized crime and unvetted off shore buyers who would use BC casinos and BC real estate to launder their money. Over $100 million through the casinos alone. I am sure the real estate buying and selling frenzy that the liberals chose to ignore because of the money that was coming in. And yet they still Took over $1 billion out of I Another publicly owned Corporation so they could say that they have balanced budgets. Meanwhile the oil and gas sector especially under Christy Clark is so heavily subsidized and most if not all the companies have accumulated and stockpiled so many drilling and exploration credits totaling close to $1 billion dollars… I could go on, as you can see in those examples I gave, the BC conservative-liberals provided a guaranteed income plan for all of their big business, Corporation, insider backroom boys through a level of corruption and deceit that was allowed to go on for as long as it did there is nothing honorable in what Gordon Campbell Christy Clark Rich Coleman and countless others in that party did. And no I’m not a big NDP’er, but that insanity had to be stopped. So when you brought up the topic of guaranteed income Harvey and the response from your yourself and others brought a spirited debate. For the record I’m a quadriplegic on the disability deal so you can probably guess which way I am leaning. I just wanted to show an example of Guaranteed income from a different angle.

    (Response: As you noted, I have absolutely no problem with government increasing rates for those living on disability income or poor seniors’ OAS pensions or Welfare …subject to fiscal ability to do so. BUT I have a problem with REWARDING some with HIGHER public stipends than any of those above ….. I’m referring to people could work but won’t; who won’t move somewhere else where work IS available; who have refused to take of failed to show up at any funded job training programs; or who simply prefer not to work. That’s what a Guaranteed Income scheme would do … and I believe the fix is in: the panel the NDP has appointed is far too narrow in scope and perspective. Taxpayers should let their MLAs know this could be the Achilles heel of the current NDP government! h.o.)

  36. 13 says:

    Sid Evans, the BC Liberals were not perfect and your post blaming them for 17 years of bad government manages to overlook any of the accomplishments. Thats another argument for another day.
    Your assertion that they were responsible for real estate prices from unvetted off shore buyers is wrong. The Canadian Federal Governments allowed the offshore buyers. The CRA chose to look the other way and ignore the illegal activities. They did not want to look racist. T

  37. Gene The Bean says:

    Sid #35 – you are right. There was a guaranteed income plan under the BC LIEberals.

    Unfortunately it was only for themselves and their friends!

  38. Barry says:

    There is a major article in today’s Globe and Mail in the opinion section on why a guaranteed income could be a good idea. I recommend that you read it to at least get some of the arguments for this type of program. I happen to feel with the coming wave of AI and robotics, the definition of “Work” and how income is earned may have to be reconsidered.

    (Response: Even though I believe it’s totally out of touch with BC’s current economy or sociological setup, here’s the link to the Globe piece: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-smart-money-why-the-world-should-embrace-universal-basic-income/. I would point out the article is NOT a news story, but an ADVOCACY piece … written by the author of the book ” Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World.” Say no more. h.o)

  39. Harry Lawson says:

    Sid #35

    Thank you for your post ,

    When the government made every body requalify for disability benefits in 2008 the buzz was lets get the scammers and that type of talk. The end result was the ineligibility that was found was the same as During normal audits . However the unintended consequences were far more devastating . More people who were stable were stressed to the point of being ill, more dr visits , more prescriptions, more hospital stays and saddest more self harm and suicides. So I ask what is the unintended consequence of a gauranteed income plan?

  40. Crankypants says:

    Thankfully this idea is just a study so far. I suspect that the Legislature has stacks of studies that have accomplished nothing more than that of a dust collector.

    I would be much more in favour of a study into why the cost of living in the Lower Mainland does not mirror the average wages in the area. Cost of living in Metro Vancouver ranks in the top three or so in North America while the average wage lingers about 50th.

    I agree with many others that have stated that those on disability assistance as well as welfare deserve the financial help long before thinking about guaranteeing able bodied people an income for staying home and clipping their toenails.

    I can’t see this being a winner for any political party that would implement such a scheme. The voters that would be stuck with funding it would likely put their vote elsewhere and the recipients would likely find it too much work to bother to vote for anyone.

    (Response: Remember, the panel hasn’t even started its work, asking questions, making statements and inviting “experts” to speak to them. I predict it will all be a field day for the Liberals .. at last something to help voters forget their problems/scandals in power … and focus instead on the “Freebie NDP”… the millions they might (or will, if approved) to PAY people not wo work). This will be a disaster for the NDP and it will go on for months! h.o.)

  41. 13 says:

    Here is a conspiracy theory. Perhaps Horgan is baiting the hook. He appoints some x NDP lay about to coordinate this work free zone. The appointee spends thousands of dollars on new furnishings for a new office in a new office building. He/her and all of their over paid staff eat for free in a posh dining room off limits to the public. They hold town hall meetings that the public can only attend by invitation. The findings of this elite panel of experts on how to avoid work are constantly delayed. The opposition howls over the waste and lack of productivity.
    The commission ignores all criticism and forges on producing nothing and running up huge costs and expense accounts.
    At some point the leader of the opposition calls the appointed czar a lazy good for nothing that has been paid millions for doing nothing. The czar then produces volumes studies and reports and sues the leader of the opposition.

  42. e.a.f. says:

    13, at #27, retirees with generous pensions, give me a break, not that many have private pensions. if they have to reply on government pensions its about $13oo month, and that isn’t generous.

    seniors are a growing group who are living below the poverty line. Yes, a lot of aging baby boomers did wonderfully well. we graduated, got jobs and a lot of them came with pensions, but then a lot went to work where they didn’t. They worked full time, paid taxes, raised families, but at 65 had nothing left and the min. amount they receive as a pension from the government makes the going very very tough. Yes, retirees, might well benefit from a min. income. As new groups, retire, fewer and fewer will have pensions and telling people, raising kids to “save” for their retirement just isn’t going to work, there is no money to save.

  43. e.a.f. says:

    Gene the Bean at #37, great line. yes there were so many guaranteed income schemes for B.C. Lieberals and their friends and financial supporters. One could start with all that funding for private schools, then there were the casinos, which not only made their owners a bomb of money, it helped others launder it. then there was the stupid meter program. that guy made out with a billion. then the ipp contracts, oh, nice buy electricity for 10 cents and sell it for 3 dents. guess those had a real nice guaranteed income for 25 to 35 years. of course one ought not to forget poor billionaires, who didn’t have to pay their electricity bills on their mine; then there were all those who the B.C. lieberals appointed to boards. some of them you wondered how they could accept the money with a straight face. Norm Farrell did a really nice chart a few years ago. Listed all those B.C. Lieberal appointees, how much they received from government for “serving” and then how much those “who served” donated to the b.c. lieberals. Some of those Community Living types made a gunaranteed income if I’m not mistaken .

    we have plans to ensure all sorts of corporations make a profit via tax breaks, royality pay backs, but if a gunaranteed income for people trying to get by, well those lazy lay about. they’ll just take advantage. a corporation gets government assistance, its referred to as making them more competitive, ensuring the survive and then they close down and leave. it just amazes me how people think its just great to create tax laws so corporations and trusts don’t have to pay taxes or very low ones, giving them a guaranteed income, but oh, boy if the senior, disabled, people who work at very low wage jobs were to be given a hand up, the socialist are taking the economy to rack and ruin.

    I’d suggest we get rid of the tax breaks, royalty paybacks, hiding taxes abroad, and see how fast the deficit disappears. There was so interesting article in the press recently about the several hundred billion being hidden off shore and how the government would be able to collect several billion a year in taxes on it. might even take care of the deficit.

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