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Victor Lau champions Universal Basic Income for Greens

Wascana Green Party candidate Victor Lau used to lead the provincial party, but now champions the Universal Basic Income in the federal campaign.

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Regina, SK: Green Party candidate Victor Lau will give his best to win Regina–Wascana, but his real goal is to open minds on the merits of a universal basic income (UBI).

“I hope to improve on the last federal vote, just to do a good showing. If we can knit together disaffected rural voters with disaffected New Democrats, I think we may find some breakthroughs,” Lau told the Western Standard.

“It’s putting out a message more than actual trying for the seat, because we’re labeled the Green Party, the easiest way to rise to power would be an environmental catastrophe. If there’s nothing happening on the environment (it would be) unlikely to get a Green in unless you’re really, really popular, like if we ran [former Regina mayor] Pat Fiacco or somebody like that that maybe converted to Greenism.”

Lau has a profile of his own: He helped found the Saskatchewan Green Party in 1999 and led the provincial party in 2006 and again from 2011 to 2016.

One of Lau’s favorite memories as Green leader was a twitter exchange with then- Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall.

“I said, ‘Well, as the Green Party leader, I have no problem supporting your position against the carbon tax. We have too many taxes. We’re trying to get rid of carbon, if that’s the problem. Why wouldn’t we look at the source, the largest sources of carbon emissions and find a solution? Nothing needs to be another tax. In fact, we don’t know if the tax is even working,’” he recalled.

“I have the distinction — I believe I’m the only Green Party leader possibly in the world that has stood against the carbon tax.”

The former UFCW shop steward ran in five provincial general elections and two by-elections and is currently the provincial Greens’ deputy leader. Lau was motivated to run federally because of his enthusiasm for the Green’s platform plank of a UBI, a concept which Greens are endorsing around the world. He believes artificial intelligence could displace jobs and make the concept increasingly important.

“It would start out at $2,000 a month if you had no job. If you got a job that paid you $1,000 a month, then it would reduce to $1,700, and so on…Once you hit $6,000 or more a month, well, the government basically says, ‘Look, do you really need any handout from us? I mean, you’re making $6,000 a month, that’s comfortable.’”

Lau says a UBI could cancel complicated government programs.

Lau, an assistant for NDP-turned-independent MP Erin Weir until his term ended in 2019, found working with Ottawa’s army of civil servants to be a mixed experience.

“You wouldn’t need EI necessarily, you wouldn’t need a whole bunch of programming. You could get rid of a bunch of departments that are just redundant, right?” Lau said.

“These bureaucrats, some of them are very friendly, they will work with you, and others are just downright stubborn. And they shouldn’t have the job they have because all they see themselves as ruthless gatekeepers, and they’re not suffering. They don’t feel the pain [when] that senior gets cut off.”

Now Lau just has to convince voters. He says he can’t always reach voters who chose incumbent Conservative Michael Kram in 2019.

“The open-heart Conservatives, they’re just gonna they tell you, ‘I’ve got my party, I’m voting for Conservative. Thank you very much.’ And they usually don’t take the literature. Then there’s the soft ones that [say], ‘Anybody but J.T.’ So that sounds like they’re not going to vote Liberal but they’re open to voting anything else,” Lau said.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole made tax reform a plank of his party’s platform, something Lau says he has told Conservatives to do for years. “Make it a lot more transparent and efficient so that it actually creates more uptick in the economy, rather than dragging down businesses, dragging down consumers,” Lau said.

Lau thinks O’Toole might win and the national race “will be interesting to watch.” What disappoints him is the People’s Party Leader couldn’t tangle with party leaders on the national stage.

“I’m really upset with Maxime Bernier not allowed in the debate. My left-wing friends are like, ‘Are you crazy?’ Look, is this a democracy? Or is this a kind of oligopoly? What re we talking about here?..[The PPC is] running more candidates than the Greens, so doesn’t that deserve something?” asked Lau.

“It’s not a democracy. I don’t know what the hell you call it, but it’s so frustrating.”

See more WS coverage of Ralph Goodale’s former riding of Regina–Wascana: Conservative Michael Kram vs. PPC Mario Milanovski and Liberal Sean McEachern.

Lee Harding is a Saskatchewan-based correspondent for Western Standard

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. mm

    Lee Harding

    September 10, 2021 at 1:38 am

    @Left Coast I remember a poem by the Polish miners during the Communist era: “Whether you sit down or you stand erect, 1000 Zlotys you expect.”

  2. Left Coast

    September 9, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Universal Basic Income . . . sounds so Soviet Union and IT IS ! ! !

    Back in the day the workers in the USSR used to Joke . . . “we pretend to work & the Govt pretends to pay us” . . . this of course is “Shared Poverty” the goal of the Watermellon Party, the NDP and Trudope’s Lieberals.

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NDP support holding strong across Alberta

That’s enough of a lead to form a majority government, say pollsters.

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The UCP would be gutted and Rachel Notley back as premier if an election were held today, an exclusive new poll done for the Western Standard shows.

The Mainstreet Research poll shows Notley’s NDP currently has the support of 41% of Albertans with Jason Kenney’s UCP well back at 25%

That’s enough of a lead to form a majority government, say pollsters.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

The upstart Wildrose Independence Party collect 11% support in the new poll, with 5% siding with the Alberta Party, with the Liberals and Greens at 1% each. A total of 14% of voters were undecided.

Wildrose leader Paul Hinman polls best among people who are refusing to get vaccinated. When they were asked, 34% chose Wildrose, 29% for the UCP and only 2% for the NDP.

If the undecided are removed from the poll, the NDP checks in with 45%, the UCP with 29%, the WIP with 13% and the AP with 6%

In that poll, the NDP is also leading in Alberta’s two major cities. In Edmonton, the NDP has 62% support with the UCP at 21% In Calgary, the NDP leads with 48% support and the UCP at 31%.

Rural areas seem split. Northern rural areas favour Kenney 34% to 29% for Notley. Southern rural areas like Notley at 32% with Kenney at 29%.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

“Things are looking pretty grim for Kenney,” said Mainstreet CEO and President Quito Maggi.

“It’s 18 months until the next election, and that can be an eternity, but numbers in this realm for the better part of a year, with no positive movement, shows the trouble he is in.”

Maggi said he was a little surprised by the lead of Notley in Calgary, normally a Conservative bastion.

“It speaks of the personal unpopularity of Jason Kenney himself. The policies of the NDP probably aren’t supported in Calgary but they are willing to vote for the candidate that will defeat Kenney,” he said.

Maggi noted Kenney is now getting it from both sides of the political spectrum and the WIP is taking enough to leave Notley with a majority victory. He predicted an NDP victory would only be by one or two seats.

The analysis in this report is based on the results of a survey conducted on October 12-13 2021 among a sample of 935 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in Alberta. The survey was conducted using automated telephone interviews (Smart IVR). Respondents were interviewed on landlines and cellular phones. The survey is intended to represent the voting population in Alberta. 

The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.2% at the 95% confidence level. Mar- gins of error are higher in each subsample. 

Totals may not add up 100% due to rounding. 

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People not getting COVID jabs a diverse group

Deonandan predicted Canada will not achieve “herd immunity” against COVID-19 until at least 91% of eligible citizens are fully vaccinated. The rate is currently 81%, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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Canadians against getting a COVID-19 jab are not just a group of crazed, anti-vaxxers, says a leading epidemiologist.

Four million Canadians who’ve declined a COVID-19 are an assorted lot, said the executive editor of the Interdisciplinary Journal Of Health Sciences .

“The unvaccinated are a diverse group,” Dr. Raywat Deonandan, of the University of Ottawa, told Blacklock’s Reporter.

“They include the hardcore anti-vaxxers. They include the vaccine-hesitant who are just afraid of the vaccine.”

“They include those who want to get vaccinated, but can’t get time off work or get child care. And they include the apathetic. The apathetic tend to be the young people who think the disease is not serious to them. Vaccine passports really do well on that group.”

Speaking during a webinar with a federal union, the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, Deonandan said he generally supported domestic vaccine passports, likening them to a driver’s licence, but strongly opposed mandatory immunization of young children.

“Vaccine mandates are controversial,” said Deonandan, adding compulsory shots for children under 12 “just creates far too much distrust in the population and doesn’t rub people the right way.

“I have a small child. I’m not happy about injecting him with strange things. I will if his mother agrees. But it does not fill me with comfort to do so. I get it.”

Deonandan said he thought compulsory vaccination for federal employees was legally defensible, but acknowledged it would draw protest.

“The weakness is our democracy,” he said.

“Our biggest value is our freedom and our democracy. That is the thing that’s our Achilles’ heel here. Authoritarian governments do better with COVID because they control the messaging and compel behaviour. We don’t want to be that. So we need to empower the citizens to think more rationally to their own ends.”

Deonandan predicted Canada will not achieve “herd immunity” against COVID-19 until at least 91% of eligible citizens are fully vaccinated. The rate is currently 81%, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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Freeland says Canada has to stop cutting business taxes

The Liberal Party has proposed $4.2 billion a year in new taxes mainly on corporations.

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada has to put a stop to cuts to corporate taxes, calling it a “race to the bottom.”

Blacklock’s Reporter noted the Liberal Party proposed $4.2 billion a year in new taxes, mainly on corporations.

“Part of building an equitable recovery is strengthening international tax fairness, ending the global race to the bottom in corporate tax and ensuring that all corporations, including the world’s largest, pay their fair share,” said Freeland.

“We will stem the world tendency to reduce the corporate tax rate.”

The Party’s August 25 campaign document, Asking Financial Institutions To Help Canada Build Back Better, proposed an increase in the corporate tax rate from 15 to 18% on banks and insurers with revenues more than a billion dollars a year.

It also proposed an unspecified Canada Recovery Dividend to be “paid by these same large banks and insurance companies in recognition of the fast-paced return to profitability these institutions have experienced in large part due to the unprecedented backstop Canadians provided to our economy through emergency support to people and businesses.

“The allocation of this dividend between applicable institutions will be developed in consultation over the coming months with the Superintendent of Financial Institutions,” continued the document.

It would be “applied over a four year period.”

Cabinet estimated all new taxes, including a new charge on tobacco manufacturers and tighter collections on offshore accounts, would generate $4,241,000,000 next year and nearly twice as much, more than $8.2 billion, by 2025.

The figures were calculated by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

“Big banks got a windfall,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters August 25.

“So as we rebuild we’re going to ask big financial institutions to pay a little back, to pay a little more, so that we can do more for you.

“Big banks and insurance companies have been doing very well over these past many months. Canada’s biggest banks are posting their latest massive profits of billions of dollars.

“Everyone else had to tighten their belt. We’re going to ask them to do a little bit more.”

New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh said September 21 he expected cabinet to raise corporate taxes with support from his caucus.

“People are worried about who’s going to pay the price for the pandemic,” said Singh.

“We don’t believe it should be small business,” said Singh. “We remain resolute that it should be the ultra-rich.”

The New Democrat platform proposed a general increase in the income tax rate on all large corporations from 15% to 18%, not just banks and insurers, and a hike in the top federal income tax rate from 33% to 35% for individuals earning more than $216,500 a year.

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