8 June 2016
For immediate release
Bevan-Baker renews call for Universal Basic Income
On the heels of the Chief Public Health Office’s recent report, Health for all Islanders, examining the social determinants of health, Island Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker is renewing previous calls for the provincial government to move toward implementing a Universal Basic Income.
“The Chief Public Health Office has clearly identified the major role that socioeconomic factors play in the health of Islanders,” says Bevan-Baker. “It reinforces what many have already been saying: that the best way to improve the health of Islanders is to reduce poverty. We believe a Universal Basic Income would be the most effective way to improve the social determinants of health for all Islanders.”
A Universal Basic Income would allow Islanders to take control of their own health by reducing or eliminating the economic barriers that prevent them from doing so. “This is also about fairness,” says Bevan-Baker. “All Islanders deserve to have the same opportunity to live a healthy life, which sadly right now is not the case.”
During the May 2015 provincial election, leaders of all four political parties in PEI agreed on the merits of a Universal Basic Income. Despite this rare multi-partisan agreement, and a supportive federal Minister, government has made little progress on this issue, as repeated questions in the House have made clear.
Economists across the political spectrum widely agree on the potential benefits of basic income programs. Aside from the considerable benefits to health, poverty, and other aspects of people’s lives, a Universal Basic Income would enable all Islanders to fully participate in the economy, which would be a major driver of economic growth and prosperity in the province.
Recognizing that such a large program would take time and effort to implement, Bevan-Baker has previously suggested that the provincial government introduce a pilot project on PEI. “Prince Edward Island’s small size makes us an ideal place for a pilot project of a Universal Basic Income. There is an opportunity here for us to lead the country by creating a healthier, fairer, and more prosperous society for all Islanders.”
MLA Kellys Cross-Cumberland
Leader of the Third Party