Another flip, this time to support a massive big-government inflationary statist policy, would be the final nail in the coffin for the CPC’s connection to their party base.
Is the Conservative Party of Canada planning to run on a Universal Basic Income in the next election?
Of course, it sounds absurd at first when you think about it.
After all, a UBI would be a state-mandated guaranteed payment to every Citizen, regardless of whether people worked for it or not.
It would be massively expensive, and dangerously inflationary, while acting as a disincentive to work, and a punishment for those who worked for their money and would have to pay for the program.
And yet, after the CPC flipped on the carbon tax, nothing would be surprising.
As Clinton Desveaux discussed with Marc Patrone, it appears a UBI is on the table for the CPC:
“Hear me @sauga960am news talk radio in Toronto on @MarcPatrone Show discussing whispers of focus testing and support from @CPC_HQ members for a universal basic income as a potential policy plank for upcoming Canadian federal election – carbon tax part 2? #cdnpoli #UBI #canpoli”
Hear me @sauga960am news talk radio in Toronto on @MarcPatrone Show discussing whispers of focus testing and support from @CPC_HQ members for a universal basic income as a potential policy plank for upcoming Canadian federal election – carbon tax part 2? #cdnpoli #UBI #canpoli pic.twitter.com/Sbk8DKbY2C
— Clinton P. Desveaux (@ClintonDesveaux) May 31, 2021
I have heard some similar things from some party insiders, so it appears there are discussions taking place within the CPC about potentially bringing the policy forward.
A foolish idea
Now, the discussion around the UBI is an interesting one from a policy perspective, and it’s something I’ve looked into in the past.
The ‘pure’ UBI would involve eliminating almost every other social program, and replacing it with the UBI, meaning a huge reduction in the bureaucracy and a streamlining of government programs.
The issue is that no politician is willing to run on that kind of ‘pure UBI’ program, since it would be political suicide.
Imagine the Conservatives bringing that forward.
Justin Trudeau would spend the whole election holding rallies and warning seniors that ‘the Conservatives plan to take away your financial support to replace it with a dangerous untested scheme.’
Further, few would be willing to believe the CPC would actually offer more support, but would certainly believe they plan to cut all the other programs, and they would pay a heavy price politically, losing both among their supporters and the general public.
Simply put, there’s no way the CPC would be offering a ‘pure UBI’ program.
So, instead they would be proposing a UBI on top of many current programs, at a massive cost (at least many tens of billions in new yearly spending).
Good luck selling that to Conservatives.
A good temporary program, a terrible permanent program
For those who find the UBI discussion interesting, this past year has been very instructive in how such a program would function in reality.
We saw the Liberal government offer $2000 a month to Canadians during the depths of the COVID-19 lockdown induced economic crisis, while ignoring most of the qualifying requirements (in essence making it a UBI).
The program worked to forestall complete economic collapse, showing it is a good crisis program in extraordinary circumstances.
However, this also confirmed two key criticisms of the UBI:
That it would be cost prohibitive, and would be a disincentive to work.
Many businesses found it very difficult to encourage their workers to return, since many could make more, or close to as much as they had while they were working, while staying home and collecting government payments instead.
The program also cost about $80 billion, something that would simply be absurdly unaffordable in the medium to long-term.
In short, the UBI works in a temporary crisis, but is unaffordable and disincentivizes work.
Big government, anti-Conservative
While the Conservative movement in Canada is often fractured, there are at least a few core ideas that are widely shared:
First, that government should be limited.
Second, that work should be rewarded.
A permanent UBI goes against both.
The problem with a permanent UBI is that it would entrench the idea that the government owes monthly payments to everybody.
Even if set at a reasonable initial rate, every election would simply become a bidding war.
The Liberals and NDP would quickly seek to gain more votes by promising massive UBI increases, and would fund it by having the Bank of Canada print more money.
This would lead to higher inflation, and the Conservatives would be forced to either oppose a higher UBI, or go along with it – ceding political ground with every campaign.
A UBI would not only cripple the economy over time, but would also cripple the basic Conservative principle that money is earned through work.
Furthermore, a UBI would entrench state power, and deepen dependence on the government, the exact opposite of what the Conservatives should want.
Will they do it?
When rumours first started spreading that the CPC was planning a carbon tax flip, I wrote about it, and said what a mistake it would be.
Many CPC partisans heavily criticized me at the time, claiming it was all made up.
Then, when Erin O’Toole publicly claimed he would never bring forth a carbon tax, those same people again criticized me, saying O’Toole had ‘set the record straight.’
Funny enough, they were very quiet when O’Toole flipped and brought in his own carbon tax.
Thus, we can expect the same pattern here.
The CPC will likely deny this vehemently, partisans will claim it’s a lie, and then we will wait and see if another flip takes place.
But the mere fact that this is apparently being considered by the CPC shows they are prepared to yet again move against their principles and slap their base in the face.
How can this be stopped?
The best thing about the future is that it can be shaped.
Nothing is inevitable.
If the CPC receives enough blowback from their core supporters, internal pressure can stop them from bringing in a disastrous UBI scheme.
That’s why I strongly encourage you to contact your CPC MPs and riding associations and make it clear to them that you oppose them bringing in a UBI, and that they could lose your vote (if they still have it at this point).
They need to hear loud and clear from Conservative Canadians that another betrayal of Conservative Principles won’t be allowed.
Photo – YouTube