On April 13, 2017, about 300 people, all of them united in their desire to improve the well-being of the most vulnerable among us, took their seats in the OISE auditorium to listen to a discussion about Basic Income (BI) and its implications for addressing poverty. What we need to keep in mind is that, regardless of a person’s views on BI, this particular event was a meeting of allies. It is unproductive to characterize any of the debaters or audience members as supporting poverty, the poverty police, or even the current inhumane system that delivers untold misery to so many.
Moderating the debate was Avi Lewis from the Leap Manifesto, a veteran journalist, moderator, film-maker, and activist. Proponents of BI were Josephine Grey, with Low Income Families Together (LIFT) and Guy Caron, NDP MP and federal leadership candidate. Critiquing BI proposals were John Clarke, an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), and Jessica Sikora, president of OPSEU Local 586. The Leap Manifesto should be commended for organizing a much-needed debate on the issue of BI and providing a space for progressive forces to come together to grapple with strategies and tactics