WATCH­ING AND WAIT­ING

Fed­eral Finance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau says gov­ern­ment fo­cus is on other mea­sures to help Cana­di­ans, not on guar­an­teed in­come

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY RYAN ROSS Ryan.Ross@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/ryan­r­ross

Fed­eral Finance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau says gov­ern­ment fo­cus is on other mea­sures to help Cana­di­ans, not on guar­an­teed in­come

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment is watch­ing guar­an­teed in­come projects in Canada but is fo­cused on other ways of help­ing Cana­di­ans, says Finance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau.

Dur­ing Morneau’s visit to P.E.I. on Wed­nes­day, The Guardian asked if there is any money or com­mit­ment of fund­ing com­ing from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment for a guar­an­teed in­come pro­gram in P.E.I.

Morneau replied that the gov­ern­ment’s con­tin­u­ing goal is to have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on mid­dle class Cana­di­ans and have a pos­i­tive change in their abil­ity to be suc­cess­ful.

“Help­ing peo­ple strive to be suc­cess­ful,” he said.

Ad­vo­cates of a guar­an­teed in­come in P.E.I. have been push­ing for the prov­ince to in­sti­tute a pi­lot pro­gram with the goal of help­ing peo­ple es­cape poverty.

Last fall, MLAs voted unan­i­mously to sup­port a res­o­lu­tion call­ing on the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to seek a part­ner­ship with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment on a uni­ver­sal ba­sic in­come pi­lot pro­gram.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has said it would only pro­vide data to sup­port P.E.I. in the de­vel­op­ment of a pi­lot.

In On­tario, its pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment is work­ing on its own guar­an­teed in­come pi­lot for some res­i­dents of Hamil­ton, Thun­der Bay and Lind­say.

On Wed­nes­day, Morneau said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will watch the ex­per­i­ments go­ing on around the coun­try.

“That will in­form us as to the po­ten­tial for that kind of op­por­tu­nity,” he said.

If P.E.I. de­cides to try a guar­an­teed in­come project, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will watch it too, Morneau said.

“We’re not go­ing to com­mit to what we might do from an ex­per­i­ment un­til we ac­tu­ally un­der­stand bet­ter what that has ac­tu­ally (been) done so we will al­ways re­main open but at this stage fo­cused on ac­tiv­i­ties we can take to have a re­ally im­me­di­ate im­pact.”

While in P.E.I., Morneau vis­ited Cras­dale Farms in South Rustico Wed­nes­day morn­ing for a tour of its dairy barn.

Af­ter the tour, Morneau spoke with the me­dia about his trav­els across the coun­try this sum­mer.

“My broader tour across the coun­try re­ally is to try and un­der­stand how’s our econ­omy do­ing in dif­fer­ent re­gions,” he said.

Af­ter tour­ing the farm, Morneau was sched­uled to take a boat tour of the Stan­ley Bridge har­bour.

Morneau said in places like P.E.I. the econ­omy is do­ing well.

“Chal­lenges re­main. We’ve got to keep work­ing, but we’re see­ing pos­i­tive signs.”

RYAN ROSS/THE GUARDIAN

Fed­eral Finance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau, left, talks to Am­ber Craswell of Cras­dale Farms dur­ing a tour of a dairy barn in South Rustico on Wed­nes­day.

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