Pi­lot project ur­ban leg­end?

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

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

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