Pilot project urban legend?
In his letter of August 5, Roger Greaves puts forward an interesting kernel in the discussion on guaranteed incomes. He points to the success of the Mincome pilot project in Dauphin, Manitoba, in the mid-1970s.
I wonder if the reputation of that project has become a bit of an urban legend.
Granted, I have not followed the recent literature but I recall an academic article in the 1990s by a researcher who did not appear to have a bias either for or against the concept. He pointed out that no formal evaluation had ever been done but the project did result in a trove of data. His sense was that the project did indeed produce several positive, and important, outcomes for participants. However, he had two major reservations.
He felt that given the level of investment being made, the magnitude of the improvement was perhaps less than anticipated. Also, he wondered if an equal level of investment in other forms of assistance might not have produced equal or better results.
Like many an academic before him, he urged further study.
If the Mincome project had been the success that supporters now claim, I am pretty sure that some government somewhere in Canada would have brought in a more widespread program by now.
Forgive me if I sound too negative. I appreciate the efforts of people such as Mr. Greaves in drawing attention to the issue of poverty. I hope that we can all work toward solutions.
Don Pridmore, Charlottetown