Smith-McCrossin calls for feasibility study of basic income

Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin says it’s time to look for a better way to reduce poverty in Nova Scotia, starting with a feasibility study into a basic income for low-income Nova Scotians.

The Cumberland North MLA attended a news conference today at Province House hosted by Basic Income Nova Scotia where the advocacy group renewed their call for such a study.  When she launched her leadership campaign in January, Smith-McCrossin spoke about exploring a basic income as a way to reduce poverty in the province.
“Nova Scotia’s current approach to reducing poverty is not working,” said Smith-McCrossin.  “Our province is home to some of the highest rates of poverty in Canada, especially poverty rates for families with young children.  This must change.” 
The basic income concept has attracted support from a wide range of experts over the years from across the political spectrum, including former Premier Robert Stanfield, former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal and Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman.
“Fighting poverty should not be about left-wing or right-wing, it should be about doing the right thing,” added Smith-McCrossin.  “With the federal Liberals passing another resolution in support of a basic income at their national convention in April, Nova Scotia needs to get to work now on what a program could look like, so we are best positioned to negotiate a possible funding partnership with the federal government.”
Smith-McCrossin believes a feasibility study should consider the following questions:

  • How would it be funded?
  • Which programs should it replace and which should potentially be maintained? (eg.: persons with disabilities)

In November 2017, the Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Nova Scotia included the following findings:

  • 21.6% of Nova Scotia children living in poverty – the third highest rate in Canada and the highest rate in Atlantic Canada;
  • 18 communities in Nova Scotia had child poverty rates of more than 30%, including 10 on Cape Breton Island;
  • 37.4% of visible minority children are living in poverty

Reducing poverty has been one of Smith-McCrossin’s three major policy themes of her leadership campaign, along with growing Nova Scotia’s economy and improving health care.

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