There is a great community need to address poverty in the Lindsay area, according to retired local businessman Doug Dent, and that’s why he is welcoming the Province’s basic income pilot this fall.
Dent, formerly of Dent Industrial Sales, says basic income “frees people up to live their lives” and pursue other opportunities, from more education to better work.
“It gets them off that bottom rung,” he tells The Lindsay Advocate. “Some people need more help than others and we should be prepared to do that as a society.”
Dent is certain that a small minority of people will take advantage of the basic income system by choosing not to be productive. But he thinks overall the positives for the many will outweigh the negatives that might be perpetrated by the few.
The retired businessman, who still owns a number of buildings in Lindsay, including the McLaughlin Plaza, says putting more money in the hands of people with lower incomes should stimulate business, too.
“It should be good for our local economy,” he says.
Dent is against the Province’s recent minimum wage hike to $14 an hour in 2018 and then up to $15 an hour one year later.
“That just means the people making $16 an hour now will want their rates to go up, too,” he says as an example.
But he feels basic income policy is much different.
“I like the idea of a basic income helping people out, as long as it gets administered properly.”
Right now the basic income pilot is underway in Hamilton and Thunder Bay, with the aim of getting about 1,000 people signed up for it in each of those centres. About 2,000 people will be invited to join the basic income pilot in Lindsay, or about 10 per cent of the population.
Dent also believes the way businesses have been allowed to create so many contract and part-time jobs, usually without benefits, should be curbed. The rise of so-called precarious work has been unfair to workers and “should be controlled more,” he says.
Dent Industrial Sales was established in 1980 by Doug and Ginny Dent. The company moved in 1981 to Needham Street and Highway 36, before eventually moving to McLaughlin Road 13 years later. Dent then sold the business to an Oshawa firm.