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Friday January 19, 2007
Now that all the major political parties seem to be latched on to the environment, the Green Party of Canada is turning its sights on the green stuff or lack of it in Canadians' wallets.

The Greens, holding a poverty conference this weekend, are considering a call for a guaranteed annual income in Canada an idea that was pushed more than 20 years ago by the Macdonald royal commission on the economy, which also paved the way for Canada-U.S. free trade.

The guaranteed-income idea has been rattling around discussions of social-safety-net reform for many decades, but with the Greens and even some long-time Conservatives taking a new look at it, the concept could enjoy a resurgence in this highly political year.

In its simplest terms, it means a system in which all Canadians are entitled to a certain "floor" income. Some see it as an all-purpose, lump-sum replacement for all the other forms of subsidized social assistance from child care to employment insurance.

Halton MP Garth Turner, ousted from the Conservatives, has recently posted a call for a guaranteed annual income on his website. "It's time," Turner wrote.

In an interview with the Toronto Star yesterday, Turner said this is an idea that blurs party boundaries, with left-wing advocates arguing for it on fairness and compassion grounds, while right-wing politicians such as Turner see it in terms of efficiency and individual rights. Source...

Green party turns its focus to poverty