Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Liberals approve basic income, pharmacare, long-term care standards at convention

The resolution, co-sponsored by the Liberal caucus, passed by a vote of 491-85 Saturday at the governing party’s virtual convention

Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea.

The resolution, co-sponsored by the Liberal caucus, passed by a vote of 491-85 Saturday at the governing party’s virtual convention.

It will automatically become official party policy, along with 10 other top priority resolutions that were fast-tracked at the convention.

Another 26 resolutions were also approved Saturday morning but must still go through another vote later in the day to be narrowed down to 15 and become official party policy.

Among those 26 were resolutions calling for enforceable, national standards for long-term care homes, a 10-per-cent increase in old age security for those 70 and over, and implementation of a national pharmacare program, which the Trudeau government has promised but has taken only incremental steps towards achieving.

Others included calls for a “green new deal” to ensure a just and fair to transition to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, investments in “transformational projects” to create jobs for workers displaced by that transition and tax incentives for large corporations to invest in renewable resource development.

Still others called for investments in affordable housing, a trans-Canada high-speed rail line, expanded access to high-speed Internet and measures to turn Canada into an “agricultural superpower.”

Participants rejected just five resolutions, including the only one that could have helped the government pay for all the other proposed costly new initiatives endorsed by convention-goers.

That defeated resolution called on the government to impose an inheritance tax on all assets over $2 million and to reduce the capital gains tax exemption by 40 per cent.

Some of the non-binding resolutions mesh with the government’s stated intention to spend up to $100 billion to fuel a green, inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, on top of the $380-billion-plus deficit already racked up helping Canadians stay afloat.

But Trudeau has already signalled his lack of enthusiasm for the universal basic income idea, suggesting now is not the time to embark on a costly overhaul of the country’s social safety net.

The parliamentary budget officer last week concluded that a universal basic income could almost halve Canada’s poverty rate in just one year but at a steep cost: $85-billion in 2021-22, rising to $93-billion in 2025-26.

Toronto MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, one of the champions of the idea within the Liberal caucus, said in an interview that he understands the price tag is daunting. Still, he said he’s hopeful that the convention’s endorsement of the idea will push the government to move gradually in that direction.

At the 2018 convention, Liberals passed a resolution calling for decriminalization of all illicit drug use. Trudeau rejected the idea at the time but Erskine-Smith noted his government has since been moving toward treating drug addiction as a public health issue rather than a criminal issue, including with proposed legislation repealing mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug offences.

Trudeau also initially opposed legalization of cannabis despite a party resolution calling for it, only to later change his mind. His government legalized recreational marijuana during its first mandate.

Trudeau will wrap up the three day convention later Saturday with a keynote speech.

Liberals

Just Posted

Masset Habour Days will be from May 21 to 25 in 2021, in a family-friendly safe environment. A parade in 2018 was a highlight of a previous Harbour Days celebration. (File Photo)
Birds, boats and blooms are featured in 2021 Harbour Days

Community festival runs from May 21 to 25 in Masset

Kayak the humpback whale was found dead on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday, May 15, 2021. (Marine Education and Research Society)
Kayak the humpback whale found dead on Haida Gwaii beach

Whale was estimated to be only 18 years old

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

The province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory Tuesday

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Most Read