Transcript: Ontario's Basic Income Pilot | Jun 20, 2017

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and striped purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "Ontario's basic income pilot. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says HE HAS HAD A LOT OF
DIFFERENT TITLES DURING HIS FOUR
DECADES IN POLITICS: CHIEF OF
STAFF TO A PRIME MINISTER AND A
PREMIER; MEMBER OF THE CANADIAN
SENATE; MASTER OF MASSEY COLLEGE
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO,
AND LATELY, THE ONTARIO
GOVERNMENT'S SPECIAL ADVISOR
BEHIND ITS NEW BASIC INCOME
PILOT PROGRAM.
FOR MORE DETAILS ON WHAT HE'S
RECOMMENDED, WE WELCOME
HUGH SEGAL BACK TO TVO.

Hugh is in his seventies, clean-shaven and balding. He's wearing glasses, a cream suit, white shirt, and striped bleu and red tie.

Steve continues IT'S GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN IN THAT CHAIR.

Hugh says GREAT TO BE HERE.

Steve says LET'S JUST START
FROM SCRATCH.
WHAT DID THE PREMIER TASK YOU
WITH DOING?

The caption changes to "Hugh Segal. Massey College."
Then, it changes again to "Putting words into action."

Hugh says THE TASK THAT I
HAD WAS TO DEVELOP A PLAN FOR
HOW ONE MIGHT TEST A BASIC
INCOME PROJECT, HOW THE TEST
SHOULD BE SHAPED, WHAT WOULD YOU
ACTUALLY TEST, WHAT WOULD BE THE
CONTENTS OF THE TEST, HOW WOULD
YOU ASSEMBLE SAMPLES FOR THAT
PURPOSE, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU ARE
TRYING TO TEST, WHAT OUTCOMES
ARE YOU TRYING TO MEASURE TO SEE
WHETHER A BASIC INCOME WHICH
WOULD REPLACE WELFARE AND ODSP.
AND WHY?
AND ONE OF THE UNDERLYING
FUNDAMENTALS THAT HAVE TO BE
TAKEN CARE OF IN THAT KIND OF
ANALYTICAL FRAME.

Steve says BEFORE WE LOOK AT
THE SPECIFICS, IT'S THE OLDEST
GAME IN TOWN WHERE SOMEONE
RECOMMENDS AND SOMEONE HAS TO DECIDE.

Hugh says I HAVE TO GIVE
THE GOVERNMENT FULL CREDIT.
I HAD 108 PAGES OF WORK THAT I
HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF DOING LAST
SUMMER.
OVER 90 RECOMMENDATIONS, AND I
WOULD SAY THAT THEY ACCEPTED
ABOUT 85.
SO THAT IS AS GOOD AS ONE COULD
HOPE FOR WHEN IT'S, AFTER ALL,
MINISTERS OF THE CROWN WHO HAVE
TO MAKE THE DECISIONS.
PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF WERE JUST
ASKED TO LAY OUT WHY WE THINK
THE TEST SHOULD PROCEED IN A
CERTAIN WAY, WHY WE THINK IT'S
IMPORTANT PROPOSITION TO DO
SOMETHING OTHER THAN WELFARE AND
OTHER THAN ODSP BECAUSE OF THE
BENEFITS WOULD COULD ACHIEVE, SO
I HAVE TO GIVE THEM CREDIT THAT
SO FAR THEY APPEAR TO BE
FOLLOWING MOST OF THE ADVICE
THAT THEY WERE GIVEN.

Steve says THEY HAVE CHOSEN TO
GO SORT OF HAMILTON-BRANTFORD IS
ONE AREA, THUNDER BAY IS A
SECOND, LINDSAY IS THE THIRD.
WAS THAT YOUR RECOMMENDATION OR
DID THEY GO ON THEIR OWN?

Hugh says I DIDN'T
MENTION THE PRECISE NAMES OF
COMMUNITIES, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT
POLITICIANS SHOULD DECIDE.

Steve says ARE YOU OKAY WITH
THOSE THREE?

Hugh says I THINK THEY'RE
VERY GOOD CHOICES.
WHEN I SAID HERE'S THE TYPES OF
COMMUNITIES YOU NEED TO LOOK AT.
YOU NEED TO LOOK AT COMMUNITIES
WHERE THERE ARE ECONOMIC SHIFTS
SO THAT PEOPLE END UP IN
FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY FROM TIME
TO TIME AND WE WILL SEE WHETHER
THE PRESENT SYSTEM IS HELPFUL.
YOU SHOULD LOOK AT COMMUNITIES
WHICH ARE LARGELY RURAL THAT
HAVE A DIFFERENT ECONOMIC BASE
THAN THOSE THAT ARE URBAN.
YOU SHOULD LOOK AT COMMUNITIES
THAT HAVE A MIX, FOR EXAMPLE,
OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE
FIRST NATIONS AS WELL AS PEOPLE
WHO DO DIFFERENT KINDS OF WORK,
SO THAT YOU CAN TEST HOW THE NEW
APPROACH AFFECTS PEOPLE WHO FIND
THEMSELVES IN POVERTY FOR A HOST
OF DIFFERENT REASONS, AND TO BE
FAIR TO THE PREMIER, THEY'RE
GOOD ENOUGH TO SEEK MY ADVICE
AND MAKE THE PAPER I DID PUBLIC,
BUT THEY HAD OVER 40 PUBLIC
SESSIONS AND CLOSE TO 50,000
SUBMISSIONS FROM ACROSS ONTARIO,
FROM OTHER ONTARIANS, WHO HAD
VIEWS JUST AS COMPELLING AND
IMPORTANT AS MY OWN, WHICH THEY
TOOK INTO CONSIDERATION IN THE
DESIGN OF THE ACTUAL PILOT WHICH
THEY ANNOUNCED.

Steve says DOES IT BOTHER YOU
AS A LIFE-LONG CONSERVATIVE
PARTY SUPPORTER TO BE SAYING
SUCH NICE THINGS ABOUT THE
LIBERAL PREMIER OF ONTARIO?

Hugh says WELL, I
SEPARATE OUT THE ISSUES.
I DON'T THINK POVERTY IS A
PARTISAN ISSUE.

Steve says I'M ONLY BEING
PARTLY FACETIOUS WITH THAT BUT
YOU HAVE BEEN SORT OF RELATIVELY
EFFUSIVE IN YOUR PRAISE ABOUT
THE WAY THEY'VE GONE ABOUT
IMPLEMENTING THIS.

The caption changes to "Hugh Segal. Ontario's Special Advisor on Basic Income."

Hugh says THE PREMIER
WILL NOW HOW I VOTE AND HOW I
VOTED ALL MY LIFE AND NONE OF
THAT IS EVER GOING TO CHANGE.
THAT BEING SAID, I THINK ON THIS
ISSUE, SHE HAS GONE OUT OF HER
WAY TO PUT TOGETHER A REALLY
SOLID FAIR-MINDED TEST, AND LET
ME ALSO SAY THAT SHE WAS MORE
THAN DELIGHTED WITH ME SPEAKING
TO BOTH THE LEADER OF THE
OFFICIAL OPPOSITION AND THE
LEADER OF THE THIRD PARTY TO
MAKE SURE THEY HAD INFORMATION
ABOUT WHAT THE CONTENT WAS GOING
TO BE, ABOUT MY RECOMMENDATIONS,
AND I THINK BOTH THE LEADERS OF
THOSE PARTIES HAVE ALSO BEEN
VERY FAIR IN SAYING WHATEVER
THEIR PROBLEMS MAY BE WITH THE
GOVERNMENT AS A WHOLE, WHICH IS
WHAT DEMOCRACY AND OPPOSITION IS
ABOUT, THEY'RE PREPARED TO LET
THIS TEST GO FORWARD, SEE WHAT
THE RESULTS ARE, AND COME TO
THEIR OWN CONCLUSIONS ON THAT
BASIS, WHICH I THINK SPEAKS TO
THE ELOQUENCE OF THE DESIRE TO
RESPECT PEOPLE AND THE WAY THEY
LIVE THEIR LIVES.

Steve says LET'S GO THROUGH THE
FOUR BASIC QUESTIONS AND FIND
OUT, HAVING STUDIED IT, HOW YOU
WOULD ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS.
FOR EXAMPLE, WOULD A BASIC
INCOME REDUCE POVERTY MORE EFFECTIVELY?
WHAT DID YOU CONCLUDE ABOUT THAT?

Hugh says YES.
AND THAT IS BECAUSE ALL THE
EXISTING PROGRAMS THAT WE HAVE
HAD, ODSP...

Steve says DISABILITY SUPPORT PROGRAM.

The caption changes to "Proven results?"

Hugh says AND ONTARIO
WORKS AND ALL THE REST HAVE
REALLY NOT HAD A SIGNIFICANT
IMPACT IN REDUCING THE NUMBER OF
PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN POVERTY.
THEY HAVE HELPED PEOPLE WHO LIVE
IN POVERTY MANAGE A LITTLE
BETTER.
BECAUSE OF THE DISINCENTIVES
BUILT INTO THE RULES AND ONTARIO
WORKS RULES, IT ACTUALLY
DISCOURAGES PEOPLE FROM FINDING
WORK BECAUSE THEY RISK A
DOLLAR-FOR-DOLLAR CLAWBACK UNDER
THE PRESENT SYSTEM.
THE IN YOU PILOT PROJECT WILL
TEST A DIFFERENT APPROACH THAT
DOESN'T DISCOURAGE WORK AND THAT
IS A BETTER WAY TO BRIDGE TO THE
FUTURE SO PEOPLE ARE NOT TRAPPED
IN POVERTY WITH YOU DID WORK
THEIR WAY OUT IN A WAY THAT IF
THEY'RE WELL ENOUGH TO DO SO,
THEY GET A CHANCE TO DO SO.

Steve says LET'S ASK THE SECOND
QUESTION YOU ASK, WHICH IS SORT
OF WHAT YOU ALLUDED TO BUT NOT
EXACTLY.
YOU SAID WOULD IT DISCOURAGE
WORK.
THE QUESTION YOU ASKED IN THE
REPORT IS, WOULD IT ENCOURAGE
PEOPLE TO WORK?
WHAT'S THE CONCLUSION THERE?

Hugh says WELL, ANY
PROGRAM THAT SAYS, WE'RE GOING
TO GIVE YOU 640 dollars A MONTH, AND IF
YOU EARN MORE THAN 200 dollars, WE'RE
GOING TO TAX IT BACK AT 100 percent,
WHATEVER IT MAY BE DOING, IT'S
NOT ENCOURAGING WORK.
AND SO... AND I MET WITH PEOPLE
IN THE PREPARATION OF THE
DISCUSSION PAPER WHO SAID THAT,
YOU KNOW, ONE WOMAN WHO WAS A
VERY BRIGHT YOUNG ECONOMIST,
HAPPENED TO BE A PARAPLEGIC, AND
SAID SHE KNOWS AS SHE GETS
OLDER, THE COSTS OF MANAGING THE
PARAPLEGIA ARE GOING TO BECOME
MORE SUBSTANTIAL.
UNDER ODSP SHE GETS ABOUT 1200 dollars
A MONTH NOW.
IF SHE WERE TO FIND WORK THAT
GENERATED MEANINGFUL INCOME
WHICH SHE HAD THE CAPACITY TO
DO, SHE COULD LOSE THAT BENEFIT,
A RISK SHE WASN'T PREPARED TO
TAKE.
ANY PROGRAM THAT MAKES PEOPLE
WORK AGAINST THEIR OWN LONG-TERM
ECONOMIC BEST INTERESTS, HOWEVER
WELL-INTENTIONED, IS WRONG.
WE NEED TO FIND A BETTER WAY.

Steve says YOU ASK WHETHER THIS
WOULD REDUCE STIGMATIZATION.
THERE IS A STIGMA TO BEING ON
WELFARE AND ODSP.
I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY DOUBT
ABOUT THAT.
WOULD A BASIC INCOME PILOT
REDUCE THE STIGMA OF BEING ON
THOSE PROGRAMS?

Hugh says BECAUSE OF HOW
IT ENDS UP BEING ORGANIZED AS A
RESULTS OF THE PILOT, EVERYBODY
WOULD FILE THEIR INCOME TAX, AND
THOSE WHO FALL BENEATH A
SPECIFIC LEVEL WOULD BE
AUTOMATICALLY TOPPED UP.
AND YOU'D BE TOPPED UP FOR THE
PERIOD OF TIME DURING WHICH
YOU'RE BENEATH THE LEVEL, WHICH
IS DEEMED TO BE APPROPRIATE, AND
FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO SAY, YOU
KNOW, WHY WOULD THIS EVER WORK?
I WOULD SAY, WELL, BECAUSE IT
DOES NOW.
IN ONTARIO, MR. DAVIS WAS
PREMIER, WHICH WAS MY FIRST
EXPOSURE IN GOVERNMENT TO THIS,
WE HAD A CIRCUMSTANCE WHERE OUR
NEW DEMOCRATIC FRIENDS AND OUR
LIBERAL FRIENDS, DURING THE
DAVIS MINORITY GOVERNMENT OF
'75, MADE A MOTION AT COMMITTEE
TO REDUCE THE MINISTER OF SOCIAL
POLICY AND HER DEPUTY SALARY TO
A DOLLAR, NOT BY A DOLLAR, TO A
DOLLAR.
AND WHEN WE FOUND OUT WHY THAT
WAS, AS THE FIRST FEMALE
MINISTER OF THE CROWN, DOUG
WRIGHT, A DISTINGUISHED
CANADIAN, THE DEPUTY MINISTER,
BECAUSE AT THAT POINT IN THE
CYCLE, 35 percent OF ONTARIANS OVER THE
AGE OF 65 WERE LIVING IN
POVERTY.
NOW, THEY WERE MOSTLY WOMEN.
THE MEN DIDN'T LIVE QUITE AS
LONG AS THEY DO NOW.
AND THE STORIES ABOUT THEM
BUYING A LITTLE BIT OF DOG FOOD
AND CAT FOOD TO ADD SOME PROTEIN
TO THEIR DIET WERE TRUE.
SO WHEN THIS PROGRAM WAS BROUGHT
IN AND, YOU KNOW, I REMEMBER
HAVING SAID TO THE MINISTER AND
TO THE DEPUTY, WHY DON'T WE FIND
OUT WHAT THE NDP AND LIBERALS
ARE REALLY UP TO HERE, BECAUSE
THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR SALARY.
THEY CARE ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE.
WELL, THE NUMBERS WERE CLEAR,
AND WHEN THE REPORT CAME TO
CABINET POINTING OUT THAT 35 percent OF
SENIOR ONTARIANS WERE LIVING IN
POVERTY, THE MOST CONSERVATIVE
FINANCE MINISTER AT THAT POINT
IN ONTARIO'S HISTORY, W. DARCY
MCKEOUGH, IN BANK OF Montréal
CUFF LINKS AND PINSTRIPED SUIT.

Steve says TO THIS DAY.

Hugh says YOU GOTTA LOVE HIM.
SAID THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO
GOT US THROUGH THE DEPRESSION.
THESE WERE THE PEOPLE WHOSE
HUSBANDS WERE OFF AT WAR.
WE'RE NOT GOING TO LIVE IN
POVERTY IN THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO.
AND THE GAINS PROGRAM WAS
ANNOUNCED WHICH WAS AN AUTOMATIC
TOPUP, NO NEW BUREAUCRACY, NO
NEW FORMS, YOU'D GET TOPPED UP.
THAT SPREAD TO OTHER PROVINCES.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NOW CALLS
IT THE GIS WHICH MEANS IF YOU
HAVE NO OTHER SOURCE OF INCOME
AT ALL, YOU CAN GET AS MUCH AS
1200 dollars A MONTH.
IT'S NOT PERFECT BUT IT'S A
START AT SOME MEASURE OF
CIVILITY AND IT DOESN'T BRING
WITH IT ANY MEASURE OF STIGMA.
IF WE CAN DO THAT FOR OLDER
FOLKS WHO DESERVE IT, WHY CAN'T
WE DO IT FOR PEOPLE WHO FALL
INTO POVERTY USUALLY FOR REASONS
BEYOND THEIR CONTROL.
CANADA IS NOW IN THE TOP 5
WORLD-WIDE, OECD NUMBERS, FOR
HOW WE MANAGE POVERTY AMONGST
SENIOR CITIZENS.
BUT FOR WORKING AGE PEOPLE,
WE'RE DOWN AROUND NUMBER 23 OR 24.
SLOVENIA IS DOING BETTER THAN WE
ARE.
WHAT'S THAT ABOUT?
WE CAN MANAGE THAT.
THIS TEST WILL INDICATE THE BEST
WAY TO PROCEED.

Steve says IF WE CAN QUOTE MITT
ROMNEY'S LINE, WHAT'S SAUCE FOR
THE GOOSE IS SAUCE FOR THE GANDER.
IF IT WORKED FOR SENIORS, IT
WOULD WORK FOR YOUNGER PEOPLE.

Hugh says I DON'T USUALLY
QUOTE MITT ROMNEY, BUT IF YOU'RE
OKAY WITH IT, WE'LL DO IT.

Steve says WHETHER IT WILL
PRODUCE BETTER LIVES FOR RECIPIENTS.
YOUR CONCLUSION ON THIS?

Hugh says WHAT WE KNOW
NOW IS WELFARE RECIPIENTS,
PEOPLE WHO LIVE BENEATH THE
POVERTY LINE, BY THE WAY WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT WORKING PEOPLE WHO
ARE EARNING LESS THAN WHAT IS
DEEMED TO BE THE LOW INCOME
MEASURE, FOLKS GET SICK SOONER
WHEN THEY'RE POOR.
THEIR DIET IS WORSE.
THEIR KIDS HAVE WORSE
EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES.
THEY GO TO HOSPITAL AT A YOUNGER
AGE.
THEY STAY LONGER BECAUSE THEY
HAVE NOWHERE TO GO.
THEY HAVE SHORTER LIVES.
AND POVERTY IS ONE OF THE VERY
BEST PREDICTORS OF BAD HEALTH
OUTCOMES.
WE KNOW IF YOU CAN REDUCE THE
LEVEL OF POVERTY, YOU CAN REDUCE
THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BAD HEALTH
OUTCOMES AND THEY GET LONGER
LIVES, BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE,
ALL OF WHICH HAS HUGE SAVINGS
FOR THE SYSTEM, ASIDE FROM BEING
A HUMANE AND MORAL WAY TO TRY TO
ENCOURAGE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC
GROWTH AND ACTIVITY.

Steve says IT'S ALWAYS A CHOICE
AT WHAT AGE TO START THESE
PROGRAMS.
YOU SUGGEST AT 18.
HOW COME?

Hugh says WELL, THERE WAS
QUITE A DEBATE ON THAT ISSUE.
THOSE OF US WHO GOT A CHANCE TO
WORK ON THIS.
AND, FRANKLY, YOU NEED TO KNOW
THAT MOST OF OUR ONTARIO
UNIVERSITIES HAVE FOOD BANKS.
AND THAT THE NOTION THAT YOU ARE
18 AND AT SCHOOL DOES NOT
DIRECTLY INSULATE YOU FROM
POVERTY.
AND THERE'S A WHOLE BUNCH OF
18-YEAR-OLDS WHO AREN'T AT
SCHOOL WHO ARE WORKING AT MENIAL
LOW INCOME JOBS.
A LOT OF MY FRIENDS ON THE
RIGHT, THE CONSERVATIVE
FRAMEWORK, SAY, WELL, IF YOU PAY
SOMEONE TO DO NOTHING, THEY WILL
DO NOTHING, TO WHICH MY RESPONSE
IS, WELL, THEN HOW COME 70 percent OF
THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE BENEATH THE
POVERTY LINE IN ONTARIO HAVE
JOBS?
SOME HAVE MORE THAN ONE.
THEY JUST DON'T EARN ENOUGH WITH
THE VARIOUS MINIMUM WAGES TO
DEAL WITH THE COST STRUCTURE IN
THEIR CITY.

Steve says WHEN YOU SUGGEST
THAT TO THEM, WHAT'S THE
COMEBACK FROM THEM ON THAT?

Hugh says THEY'RE
TROUBLED BY IT BECAUSE THEY
ACTUALLY THINK THAT PEOPLE WHO
WORK SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET BY.
AND THE TRUTH IS, THE STRUCTURE
OF HOW WE PAY PEOPLE AND CASUAL
LABOUR AND ALL THE REST IS SUCH
THAT NOT EVERYBODY HAS THAT OPPORTUNITY.

Steve says DO THEY HAVE A
LEGITIMATE FEAR INASMUCH AS IF
YOU START THE BASIC INCOME PILOT
AT AGE 18, IT MIGHT HAVE THE
PERVERSE EFFECT OF DISSUADING
PEOPLE FROM SEEKING
POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION?

Hugh says BUT THE POINT
ABOUT POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION IS
IF YOU'RE A REGISTERED STUDENT
IN POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION AND
YOU HAVE FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY,
YOU HAVE ACCESS TO OTHER
PROGRAMS WHICH CAN PROVIDE SOME
MEASURE OF ASSISTANCE.
I HAD THOSE WHEN I WAS A STUDENT
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA.
AND I USED TO LIVE SORT OF
CHEQUE TO CHEQUE FROM GOVERNMENT
ASSISTANCE, Québec GOVERNMENT
ASSISTANCE, BECAUSE I WAS FROM
Québec, WITHOUT WHICH I COULDN'T
HAVE GONE TO UNIVERSITY AND MY
PARENTS WOULD NOT HAVE HAD THE
ABILITY TO HELP ME FINANCIALLY
THROUGH THAT.
BUT PEOPLE HAVE FAMILIES.
NOT EVERYBODY IN THE FAMILY IS
ELIGIBLE TO GET OSAP, SOME HAVE
OTHER DIFFICULTIES AND YOU WANT
TO MAKE SURE THAT FAMILIES HAVE
ENOUGH TO EAT, TO PAY THE BASIC
RENT AND MEET THE BASIC
REQUIREMENTS.

Steve says ONE OF THE... YOU'VE
GOT TO FIGURE OUT WHETHER THIS
WORKS OR HOW THIS WORKS, AND I
GUESS ONE OF THE HUGE ISSUES IS
GOING TO BE, WHO DECIDES WHETHER
IT'S A SUCCESS, HOW WOULD YOU
MEASURE SUCCESS, OVER WHAT
PERIOD OF TIME... I MEAN,
THERE'S A WHOLE HOST OF
QUESTIONS, AS YOU WELL KNOW.
WHO IS GOING TO FIGURE ALL THAT OUT?

The caption changes to "Gauging success."

Hugh says WELL, THE
NATURE OF THE THREE-YEAR TRIAL
THAT'S BEING RECOMMENDED IN
CERTAINLY THE PAPER AND WHAT'S
THE PROVINCE HAS DECIDED TO DO
MEANS THAT ALL THE RESULTS WILL
BE REPORTED TO THE NEXT
PARLIAMENT OF ONTARIO, WHOEVER
MIGHT BE IN GOVERNMENT AT THAT
TIME.
MOREOVER, THE RECOMMENDATIONS
WHICH I HAVE MADE, WHICH THE
GOVERNMENT HAS ACCEPTED, IS THAT
WHILE THE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE
PARTICIPANTS SHOULD HAVE THEIR
PRIVACY PROTECTED, THE ACTUAL
COLLECTIVE FLOW OF DATA... HOW
MANY PEOPLE ARE SIGNING UP, HOW
MANY PEOPLE ARE BEING TOPPED UP,
WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THEM IN
TERMS OF WORK FORCE
PARTICIPATION, HEALTH AND
EDUCATION... THAT NUMBER...
THOSE NUMBERS HAVE TO FLOW
ALMOST FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.
SO THIS IS NOT ABOUT A SURPRISE
WHERE YOU KIND OF LIFT THE TRAY
AND SAY, SURPRISE!
THERE REALLY IS STEAK ON THIS
PLATE.
PEOPLE HAVE TO SEE THE NUMBERS
ON AN ONGOING BASIS, SO THE
VARIOUS ORGANIZATIONS WHO WORK
WITH LOW INCOME ONTARIANS,
VARIOUS ACADEMICS, PUBLIC
SERVANTS, TRADE UNIONS AND
OTHERS, CAN SEE WHERE THE
NUMBERS ARE GOING SO WE BEGIN TO
FORM A COLLECTIVE SENSE OF
WHETHER IT'S WORKING OR NOT, HOW
MUCH IT'S ACTUALLY GOING TO
COST, WHICH IS WHAT A PILOT
PROJECT IS REALLY ALL ABOUT.

Steve says AND YOU'VE QUITE
RIGHTLY POINTED OUT THIS IS A
3-YEAR PILOT PROJECT AND WE ARE
HAVING AN ELECTION EXACTLY 12
MONTHS FROM NOW.
DO YOU HAVE ANY UNDERTAKING FROM
EITHER OF THE OTHER TWO MAJOR
PARTIES THAT IF THEY FORM
GOVERNMENT, THEY WILL KEEP THIS
IN PLACE?

Hugh says I DON'T... I
DON'T BELIEVE THAT ANY OF THEM
WILL, BASED ON MY DISCUSSIONS,
WILL CANCEL A TEST THAT'S
UNDERWAY AS A TEST.
WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING
WHICH MAY COST ABOUT 25 TO
30 MILLION dollars A YEAR, IT'S A LOT
OF MONEY BUT IT'S NOT IN AND OF
ITSELF A MATERIAL AMOUNT IN
TERMS OF THE PROVINCIAL BUDGET.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL BE INVESTED
IN IT... COMMUNITY
ORGANIZATIONS, VOLUNTEER GROUPS,
AND OTHERS.
AND MOST OF THE PEOPLE SEEKING
OFFICE IN ONTARIO WANT TO WORK
WITH THOSE FOLKS ON BOTH
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ISSUES.
SO I DO THINK THEY'RE GOING TO
WAIT FOR THE RESULTS TO COME OUT.
BUT HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS:
TECHNOLOGY NOW, IN TERMS OF
MICRO SIMULATION AND THE USE OF
SOME OF THE OTHER TECHNICAL
CONSTRUCTS MEANS THAT YOU WILL
GET INDICATIONS PRETTY SOON
ABOUT HOW THE TRENDS ARE GOING.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO WAIT TILL THE
LAST MONTH OF THE THIRD YEAR TO
UNDERSTAND WHETHER IT'S LARGELY
WORKING OR NOT.
THAT WILL BEGIN TO EMERGE
PROBABLY WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO
18 MONTHS.

Steve says THAT'S WHAT I WANT
TO PUSH BACK ON.
IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE TO KNOW
WHETHER HOSPITALIZATION RATES
ARE COMING DOWN, CRIME RATES ARE
COMING DOWN, MENTAL HEALTH RATES
ARE COMING DOWN, DRUG ADDICTION
IS COMING DOWN?
IS 3 YEARS ENOUGH TIME TO FIND
OUT WHETHER THAT WILL HAPPEN,
AND IF IT DOES, WHETHER YOU CAN
ATTRIBUTE IT TO THE BASIC INCOME?

Hugh says STEVE, WE HAVE
DATA SETS THAT ARE UP AND
RUNNING ALL THE TIME.
ISIS, THE INSTITUTE FOR...

Steve says TERRIBLE ACRONYM.

Hugh says IT IS.
OHIP, THE POLICE, THE FEDERAL
CENSUS TRACKS, ALL THESE DATA
SETS TELL US WHAT'S HAPPENING
BLOCK BY BLOCK.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE'S HEALTH
CIRCUMSTANCE?
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE WORKING?
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AT SCHOOL?
WHAT ARE THE RELATIVE INCOMES?
THOSE NUMBERS NOW EXIST.
IF SOMEONE SIGNS UP TO BE A
PARTICIPANT IN ONE OF THEIR
COMMUNITIES, THEY WILL BE ASKED
TO GIVE PERMISSION FOR ACCESS TO
THOSE COLLECTIVE DATA SETS.
YOU'RE GOING TO SEE THOSE BEGIN
TO MOVE FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.
THE NOTION YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR
3 YEARS TO KNOW ANYTHING IS NO
LONGER PART OF HOW THAT SOCIAL
AND ECONOMIC ANALYSIS REALLY WORKS.

Steve says AND IF THE NUMBERS
DO MOVE IN THE DIRECTION YOU
WANT THEM TO MOVE, THERE WILL BE
NO DOUBT IN YOUR MIND THAT YOU
CAN ATTRIBUTE THOSE CHANGES TO
THE BASIC INCOME?

Hugh says YES.
BECAUSE YOU HAVE A CIRCUMSTANCE
THAT TRANSPIRED BEFORE THE TEST
WAS STARTED.
YOU'LL KNOW WHAT THE PERFORMANCE
NUMBERS WERE IN TERMS OF JOBS
AND HEALTH AND EDUCATION.
THEN YOU'LL HAVE A GROUP OF
PEOPLE WHO ARE ACTUALLY GETTING
TOPPED UP THROUGH THE NEW
APPROACH, COMPARED TO A CONTROL
GROUP WHO ARE IN THE SAME
COMMUNITY BUT ARE NOT GETTING
TOPPED UP.
SO YOU CAN EASILY LOOK AT WHAT'S
HAPPENING FOR EACH GROUP TO SEE
WHERE THE CHANGE IS, AND YOU'LL
KNOW WHAT THE CAUSAL FACTORS
ARE.
THEY WILL BE INDICATIVE.
I MEAN, IT'S NOT CHEMISTRY, BUT
IT IS CONSTRUCTIVE ANALYTIC
ECONOMICS AND THE STATISTICAL
FRAME OF REFERENCE IS REAL AND
THAT WILL ALLOW GOVERNMENTS TO
MAKE A RATIONAL DECISION.

Steve says YOU HAVE BEEN
CHAMPIONING THIS FOR A LONG TIME.

Hugh says 40 YEARS.
ONLY 40 YEARS.

Steve says YOU HAVE FINALLY
MANAGED TO GET YOUR FLAG PLANTED
IN THE GROUND...

Hugh says IT'S NOT MY FLAG.
A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE WORKED HARD ON IT.

Steve says A FLAG.
LET'S CALL IT THAT.
HOW DISAPPOINTED ARE YOU GOING
TO BE IF, AFTER 3 YEARS' TIME,
THOSE NUMBERS DON'T DO WHAT YOU
HOPE THEY WILL DO?

Hugh says WELL, I SAY AT
THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE
DISCUSSION PAPER THAT THIS TEST
HAS TO BE SHAPED SO THAT THERE
IS NO ASSUMPTION THAT IT'S GOING
TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
THERE'S NO ASSUMPTION THAT THE
DATA IS GOING TO SUPPORT EVERY
PROPOSITION IN THE HYPOTHESIS
ITSELF.
QUITE THE CONTRARY.
THIS PAPER... THIS PILOT HAS TO
BE SHAPED SO THAT WE GET GOOD
NEWS AND BAD NEWS.
THERE WILL BE ASPECTS OF THIS
THAT DON'T WORK THE WAY PEOPLE
HOPED.
THERE MAY BE SOME ASPECTS WHICH
WORK FAR BETTER THAN PEOPLE
HOPED.
WE HAVE TO HAVE A COMPLETELY
OPEN MIND, LET THE CHIPS FALL
WHERE THEY MAY, AND SO THE
MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE, THE
GOVERNMENT OF THE DAY, CAN MAKE
A DECISION BASED ON RATIONAL
DATA.
THE FACT THAT ONE WOULD SAY,
WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE A
FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE TO HOW WE
DEAL WITH POVERTY WITHOUT
TESTING A NEW APPROACH FIRST I
THINK IS ACTUALLY WHAT A
RATIONAL DEMOCRACY SHOULD BE DOING.

Steve says BUT I WOULD THINK...
I'M NOT TRYING TO... I'M NOT
TRYING TO OVERDO IT HERE.
I WOULD THINK HAVING SPENT 40
YEARS CHAMPIONING THIS ISSUE, IF
YOU DON'T SEE SOME PRETTY
SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS OUT THERE
NOW THAT WE'RE FINALLY PUTTING A
BASIC PILOT PROGRAM IN PLACE, A
BASIC INCOME PILOT PROGRAM IN
PLACE, I MEAN, THAT'S GOING TO
BE PRETTY SOUL-DESTROYING FOR
YOU, IS IT NOT?

Hugh says WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT?
NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT, HOWEVER
ENTHUSIASTIC THEY MAY BE ABOUT
SOMETHING, HOWEVER LONG THEY'VE
WORKED ON IT, TO BELIEVE THAT
JUST BECAUSE YOU'VE BEEN ON THE
SIDE OF THAT DEBATE, YOU HAVE A
RIGHT TO HAVE IT TURN OUT THE
WAY YOU WANT.
DEMOCRACY IS ABOUT DIFFERENT
POINTS OF VIEW, DIFFERENT
PERSPECTIVES, HOPEFULLY BASED ON
FACT AND EVIDENCE.
EVIDENCE-BASED DECISION-MAKING
IS A GOOD THING, AND YOU'VE GOT
TO RUN WITH THE RISKS.
BUT I WOULD RATHER RUN WITH THE
RISKS OF TRYING SOMETHING NEW
THAT IS INSPIRED BY RESPECT FOR
THE HUMAN CONDITION, RESPECT FOR
PEOPLE'S PRIVACY, A RESPECT FOR
PEOPLE'S DIGNITY THAN SAY, YOU
KNOW WHAT?
WHAT WE'RE DOING IS JUST FINE.
NO NEED TO CHANGE.
THAT WAS THE OTHER OPTION THAT
ANY GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE HAD.
AND TO THE CREDIT OF THIS
ADMINISTRATION AND THE TWO
OPPOSITION LEADERS, THAT'S NOT
WHERE THEY WENT.

Steve says LET'S FINISH UP ON
THIS: WHEN YOU AND I RECONVENE
IN THREE YEARS' TIME ON THIS
ISSUE... WE'LL TALK BEFORE THAT
ON OTHER THINGS... WHEN WE
RECONVENE IN 3 YEARS' TIME, WHAT
ARE YOU GOING TO TELL ME ABOUT
WHAT'S HAPPENED?

Hugh says I HOPE I'LL BE
ABLE TO SAY THAT IN THREE OR
FOUR IMPORTANT DIMENSIONS, THIS
APPROACH SHOWED WHERE REAL
PROGRESS SHOULD BE MADE IN A
FASHION THAT WAS ECONOMICALLY
VIABLE AND PROGRESSIVE IN TERMS
OF THE HUMAN CONDITION.
AND IF I'M HONEST, I WILL
PROBABLY SAY, AND THERE'S TWO OR
THREE ASPECTS WE HADN'T THOUGHT
OUT AS CAREFULLY AS WE MIGHT
HAVE AND PROBABLY WE DO NOT NEED
TO PROCEED OR SHOULDN'T PROCEED
WITH THOSE RIGHT AWAY.
I MAY ALSO SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT?
THIS INDICATES PERHAPS, THE
RESULTS INDICATE PERHAPS THAT IF
WE INVEST IN JUST IN MAKING IT
BETTER FOR THOSE ON DISABILITY
FIRST, THAT MIGHT BE A WAY TO
BUILD PUBLIC CONSENSUS ABOUT
GOING FORWARD IN OTHER ASPECTS
OF THIS, DEPENDING ON WHAT THE
RESULTS ACTUALLY TELL US.
YOU KNOW, THERE'S A REASON THAT
THERE'S A CONSENSUS ABOUT
HELPING SENIORS, CONSENSUS ABOUT
HELPING VETERANS, CONSENSUS
ABOUT HELPING KIDS... BECAUSE
ALL OF US AS A SOCIETY SAY,
THOSE ARE FOLKS WE HAVE TO HELP
GET ON WITH LIFE.
WE OWE THEM AND WE OWE THEM A
FAIR SHOT.
BUT THAT BEING SAID, THIS IS AN
INCLUSIVE APPROACH TO AN OVERALL
TEST, SO I'M OPTIMISTIC THAT I
WILL BE ABLE TO SIT HERE AND
SAY, IT WASN'T QUITE AS BAD AS
YOU WORRIED IT MIGHT BE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Steve Paikin, @spaikin; Producer: Harrison Lowman, @harrisonlowman."

Steve says GOD WILLING, YOU AND
I WILL BOTH BE ALIVE IN 3 YEARS'
TIME WHERE WE WILL RECONVENE AT
THIS TABLE AND CONTINUE THE
DISCUSSION AND SEE WHERE IT ALL WENT.
IN THE MEANTIME, WE HAVE FOUR
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HAVE AT YOU.
SO THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING IN
TO TVO TONIGHT.

Hugh says THANK YOU, SIR.

Steve says THAT'S THE MASTER OF
MASSEY COLLEGE AND ONTARIO
GOVERNMENT SPECIAL ADVISOR ON
THE BASIC INCOME PILOT, HUGH SEGAL.

Watch: Ontario's Basic Income Pilot