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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. Toxic illicit drugs have claimed the lives of 498 British Columbians in the first three months of 2021, said the BC Coroners Service. (BCEHS photo)
Increase in overdose cases a concern: Fort St. James RCMP

Police issue public health announcement

Jim Woodruff from the Vanderhoof Curling Club has won volunteer of the year by Curl BC. (Photo submitted)
Jim Woodruff awarded Curl BC Volunteer of the Year

“It really is fun making nice ice.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for Cluculz Lake’s new fire hall will take place Tuesday, June 22. The current fire hall is able to only store one apparatus. (Photo submitted)
New fire hall on the way for Cluculz Lake

Approximate $950,000 facility anticipated to be completed by this fall

A cell tower is pictured in rural Ontario on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Connected future for Saik’uz First Nation

Cellular tower to be constructed by Telus within the community

Nechako River. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
So far so good, but officials keeping tabs on Nechako River streamflow

Vanderhoof Mayor said typically if there is flooding, it occurs toward the end of May and early June

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

Most Read