Stop the Consultation Merry-Go-Round – Put Food in the Budget
This June 27 article in the Toronto Star (see here) reveals the strategy of misdirection that the Ontario Liberal Party (now led by Kathleen Wynne) is using to once again avoid raising social assistance rates:
- A plan to design a pilot project on basic income;
- consultation on the design
- a separate Income Security Reform Working Group to provide recommendations
All this just in time for the next Ontario election in June 2018!
Just in case there is any doubt that there will be little movement on creating adequate incomes for poor people Jaczek makes the delaying strategy explicit when she says the following: (See here)
“I feel fairly confident we are going to be making a commitment to vulnerable Ontarians in the 2018 budget,” Jaczek told a gathering at the YWCA in downtown Toronto.
“If the election, which I anticipate in June 2018, occurs, I will be particularly proud to stand by the commitment,” she added.
We have been on this consultation merry-go-round several times in the past ten years.
- 2007 consultations on a 5 year poverty reduction strategy
- 2011 Commission on Social Assistance
- 2014 for the next 5 year poverty reduction strategy
Throughout this almost ten year period social assistance rates fell behind the cost of living every year and lineups grew at the food banks.
Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government has just put a fresh coat of paint on the ‘Consultation Merry-Go-Round’, and a new rider on the lead horse (an undoubtedly sincere Minister of Social Services Helena Jaczek).
It may be Minister Jaczek’s first merry-go-round, but it’s not ours!
And alas, we know that there is no gold ring on this carousel for poor people in Ontario to grab.
Look for yourself at the timetable for the guaranteed income pilot project and the Income Security Reform Working Group. This timetable begins with yet another discussion paper and ends with recommendations that will be in place just in time for the next Ontario election in the spring of 2018.
- June 2016: Income Security Working Group begins.
- Sept 2016: Hugh Segal Discussion Paper will provide report to help design the pilot. (By the way Hugh Segal and Senator Art Eggleton recommended studying the guaranteed income concept in 2009 – seven years ago!)
- Fall 2016/Winter 2017: Consultation on final design and implementation of pilot
- June 2017: Begin Guaranteed Income Pilot project (If the pilot is a one year project it will conclude in June 2018 – after the next provincial election).
- June 2017: Income Security Working Group makes recommendations
- January 2018: Broad reforms will be rolled out - less than six months before the next provincial election - assuming the deficit is erased by then!
- Spring 2018: Wynne announces election budget
- June 2018: Ontario Election
???? - If Wynne is not re-elected or is re-elected in a minority government what will become of the proposed reforms?
Does this consultation merry-go-round inspire confidence in you that it will lead to adequate income for people who are poor in Ontario? (Please write to us and tell us what you think.)
Let’s contrast this Basic Income pilot process with Wynne’s timetable to privatize Hydro One.
- Hydro One privatization was not included in the Liberal election platform
- Wynne surprised her own caucus when she announced the sale
- There were limited public hearings
- 83% of the public opposes the sale of Hydro One
Wynne continues the process of selling off Hydro One – over the opposition of the majority of the public - because that’s what Bay Street wants. However in order to pass legislation that creates adequate incomes for people who are poor Jaczek requires the public to ‘go along’.
But ask yourself – will Bay Street ‘go along’ with a plan to redistribute income from the wealthy so people who are poor can have an adequate and guaranteed annual income? (Please write to us and tell us what you think).
The purpose of the pilot project and the consultations is to convince the sizeable number of Liberal Party voters that believes in social justice that the Premier Wynne intends to deliver on this promise. Kathleen Wynne will not deliver on this promise – but she needs a significant portion of the base of voters to believe she will in order to keep their votes.
There is no point to participate in the consultation merry-go-round. Let’s continue to demand that Jaczek and Wynne put food in the budget now!
Sign up here to receive information on actions the Put Food in the Budget campaign is planning that will challenge the fraudulent consultations of Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek.
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