If Ontario Works, boutique tax credits go, Schmale on board with basic income

By Roderick Benns

Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock Conservative MP Jamie Schmale has clarified his position on basic income, saying he’s all for the pilot if Ontario Works is eliminated and the boutique tax credits go.

Schmale, who was not as specific in his first interview with The Lindsay Advocate, clarified his remarks on The Advocate’s active social media presence on Facebook.

“I think what didn’t come out clearly…is I am supportive of basic income if the civil service is substantially reduced,” Schmale wrote on Facebook.

“If basic income is a switch from the current way of doing things (Ontario Works, boutique tax credits), then absolutely! However, if this pilot program is in addition to our sizable bureaucracy and complicated tax system, the program will be unaffordable. At the end of the day though, people keeping more of the money they earn is a good thing and that is what the basic income does.”

The Conservative MP’s refined stance on basic income means he joins Progressive Conservative MPP Laurie Scott and City of Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham in welcoming the pilot to Lindsay.

The study, first announced in April of this year, is going to measure whether a basic income can better support vulnerable workers, improve health and education outcomes for people living on low incomes, among other indicators.

People in the pilot could receive up to $16,989 per year for a single person and up to $24,027 per year for a couple, less 50 per cent of any earned income. People with a disability would receive up to an additional $500 per month.

Participants currently receiving child benefits, such as the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB), will continue to be eligible to receive them during the pilot.

Schmale went on to write that “at the end of the day, basic income allows people to keep more of the money they earn and that is a good thing.”

“However, if we decide to implement this on a larger scale, we will need to reduce the size of the civil service. Having both would be unaffordable,” he writes.

The MP notes he does “not support wealth distribution.”

“Socialism doesn’t work. It never has. I support people helping those who can’t help themselves and allowing those who are working in the lower income industries to keep more of the money they earn…while reducing taxes and the crushing scope of an ever-growing government.”

Schmale, believes that if the environment is conducive to private sector growth, jobs will be created.

“High tax, crippling red tape and suffocating regulations are causing good paying jobs to locate elsewhere and pushing others to automate quicker,” he writes.

He writes that “closing tax loopholes on the mega-rich while easing the burden on the lower to middle class” will help to spur the economy.

“I’m happy to lend full support for the (basic income) pilot project, however…you have to make reductions elsewhere.”

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