There cannot be two people better placed to speak about Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot than Deirdre Pike and Jessie Golem. Created by the Ontario Liberal government in the final years before it lost power, and cancelled (contrary to assurances to the contrary) by the incoming PC government in 2018, the Basic Income Pilot was intended to provide hard data on how a basic income based on tax returns, replacing the mish-mash of benefits currently on offer, could work to transform the lives of people living on lower incomes.
Deirdre Pike is a lifelong activist for social justice, notably with respect to LGBTQ+ and feminist issues, but also as one of the most prominent advocates for a universal basic income. Through this involvement, she ran as a candidate for the Ontario Liberal Party in Hamilton Centre in 2018. Deirdre’s weekly column in the Hamilton Spectator is essential reading.
Jessie Golem is a professional photographer and participant in the Basic Income Pilot. In 2018 Jessie produced a photo series called Humans of Basic Income that powerfully illustrates the stories of the recipients of the cancelled Basic Income Pilot Project in Ontario. Her photos have been exhibited across Canada and around the world.
Deirdre and Jessie give a fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking account of the Basic Income Pilot, the tragic human cost of its cancellation, and their hopes that the time for Basic Income in Canada might be approaching.
Later in the episode Joel and Roland take a first look at the developing story of Hamilton Integrity Commissioner’s decision to recommend that Council reprimand and fire Cameron Kroetsch, volunteer chair of the city’s LGBTQ+ advisory committee, a fact made doubly curious by the same commissioner’s repeated failure to reprimand councillors for behaviour which seems to often border on bullying and ad hominem attacks.