Notes from the Income Working Group
Assembly to End Poverty, Feb 1, 2003, Victoria, BC
Notes transcribed from flip chart paper by facilitator C.A. L'Hirondelle

In 2003 over 100 people from around BC attended the grassroots organized Assembly To End Poverty held in Victoria BC (with a shoe-string budget). There were several working groups to discuss aspects of poverty including the Income Working Group. This group had 20 participants from a variety of backgrounds including: anti-poverty, environment, disability, and faith. We first discussed and brainstormed ideas about guaranteed income and then created a joint statement that all participants agreed on. This statement was then shared with the larger group. What follows is the final group statement on income.

  • There needs to be a new definition of the idea of work in order, to recognize people have value just because they are people regardless of their "productivity"
  • The first and foremost priority of our global society must be to meet the essential needs of all its members. Recognize we are obliged to do so.
  • That we urgently need a guaranteed income to do this but it must be at a level high enough to meet people's essential needs necessary for health.
  • That what are "essential needs necessary to health" must be defined. That there are primary needs, food, shelter, clothes, clean air and water. Other things that are necessary for health need further discussion. After these needs are met, cultural and spiritual needs can be attended to. (all this needs a group to work on definitions)
  • Also that essential needs includes a healthy sustainable environment.
  • First nations sovereignty must be included in any implementation of a guaranteed income.
  • It would have to be global (happen around the world) and universal.
  • It would be a way to implement the principles in the   UN Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Take into account other cultures definitions of hierarchy of needs. (Medicine wheel and also Maslow's hierarchy of needs.)
  • When we have our basic needs met , it fosters self development, community building, subsistence (growing food), self-sufficiency, creativity and their could be less emphasis on money.
  • Meeting people's essential needs also provides societal stability.
  • It would be a way to have recognition for values that are not monetary.
  • We should create and promote a Canadian vision that includes global reality.
  • Focus on "living" - not "working".
  • Redefine work using Maria Mies definition as a guideline:   "only that work will be called productive that really produces, maintains and enhances life"
  • Communicate with all diverse groups and listen to each other. (don't overly rely on internet as many people do not have computers)
  • Recognize that education must be combined with action to create change.
  • Possible contention - that most people don't care about the environment. Several people disagreed with that statement.

Recorded by INCOME group facilitator C.A. L'Hirondelle;
Notes were taken from flip chart paper and typed for distribution.