Small demonstrations in Victoria on Saturday called for governments to implement some sort of basic income support and for banks to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry.
Susan Abells, an advocate with Basic Income BC, opened the event outside the B.C. legislature by explaining different kinds of basic income frameworks but said they all allow people to meet their basic needs and live with dignity.
She mentioned how similar programs like Old Age Security and the Canada Child Benefit already exist, and said there needs to be a safety net income system for working-age adults. Abells said most advocates in Canada are specifically calling for a guaranteed livable income. Such a program would be universally accessible, enhanced for those with certain needs and vulnerabilities, and indexed to the cost of living.
“Unlike welfare, it does not leave anybody living in deep poverty,” she said.
Abells specified that the guaranteed livable income they’re calling for wouldn’t replace supports for vulnerable people – a common critique of basic income proposals is other services could be cut or those with special needs could receive less funding for individualized care.
Diana Day, the lead matriarch of the Pacific Association of First Nations Women, said Indigenous people continue to face discrimination, making it more difficult to secure employment, and a basic income would “provide supports for all people.”
“If we can do this, imagine all those people who’d be lifted up,” Day said. “They’d be supported and they wouldn’t have to worry where their next meal is coming from.”
A man protesting proof of vaccination requirements repeatedly tried to yell over speakers and swore at the basic income crowd during the event.
Another small demonstration on Saturday saw a small group walk in the right lane of traffic from Pioneer Square to the Douglas Street Royal Bank of Canada location. They were calling on Canadian banks to divest from fossil fuel companies.
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