Vancouver Islanders start two petitions calling for guaranteed income

Vancouver Islanders start two petitions calling for guaranteed income
WatchA Nanaimo woman and Port Alberni man have both started similar petitions calling on the federal government to create a guaranteed income.

Two Vancouver Islanders have started petitions calling on the federal government to have a guaranteed annual income.

Both have support from their MPs and in light of COVID-19, they believe there’s national support for such a move.

One of the petitioners is Chris Alemany, a former Port Alberni city councillor now trying to impact federal policy.

He started a petition earlier this month calling for a guaranteed annual income for all Canadians.

“With the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the CERB, going out to so many people but there were still so many gaps it just seemed like a really obvious time to start a universal basic income. At least start the conversation about it,” said Alemany.

With more than 4,800 signatures online, it has far surpassed the threshold to be submitted to parliament, which will happen in June.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns says he fully supports the petition, especially in light of COVID-19.

“We know people, many people are vulnerable and are falling through the cracks and we certainly have supported some form of universal basic income. We know people need a hand right now,” said Johns.

Johns says the concept of ensuring a basic livable income would help many in his riding. As an example, he says many in Port Alberni are now unemployed and living below the poverty line.

And he believes a universal basic income could become reality in light of the Liberal minority government accepting other NDP policies.

“We fought hard to ensure people got the support they need by expanding CERB. We just got a commitment from the government to extend sick days by two weeks.”

Last week a Nanaimo woman started a similar petition calling for a guaranteed livable income. She too knows many who don’t qualify for federal assistance but need financial help.

“So they’re left in this sort of grey area where they’re really suffering from a loss of income since the pandemic has hit so the nice thing about a GLI it would give a safety net to everyone,” said Alysia Boudreau.

Her petition has also surpassed the 500 signature threshold and her MP will submit it to parliament.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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