Sunday, March 1, 2009

Basic Income a right: Essential for economic recovery Staff. Sunday, March 01, 2009

TONY MARTIN, MP, Sault Ste Marie

Basic income a right, essential for economic recovery

Martin speaks at international conference in New York

NEW YORK - (March 1) - A basic income guarantee for people living in poverty honors human dignity and will help countries recover from the recession, Sault MP Tony Martin told the closing plenary of an international conference here today.

“We are facing a challenge today different in nature and depth than anything any of us have experienced before,” Martin told delegates attending the 8th Congress of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network.

“It will require phenomenal common effort to get us through it in a way that leaves no one behind. We need to be able to influence the decision makers (politicians). Large numbers of people need to be sending the same message -- poverty is not acceptable for anybody.

“We need to be speaking to people of kindred spirit in faith groups, in labour organizations and other citizen groups rooted in a quest for fairness and justice. The economic system is failing, people are being affected. We have an unprecedented opportunity to affect positive change. It is in our collective self interest to do so. It is not only a moral imperative, it is necessary for economic recovery and redistributive justice. A basic income is part of the answer. Those who had privilege will fight this and are well funded and organized.”

While here, Martin met with Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, another conference presenter and long-time advocate for a guaranteed income, on plans to move the basic income initiative forward in Parliament.

Martin believes any economic stimulus package should include income security investments and critical social infrastructure for communities.

"We have a duty as a socieity and government to offer equal opportunity for everyone, to ensure people have enough money to pay for the basic necessities of life, including food, clothing, shelter, heat."