Q: We are facing a massive deficit coupled with a need for a continued economic recovery effort in the wake of the pandemic. On top of that, there is a critical need for more employees in the service sectors. What will you and your party do to address the deficit, stimulate the economy and help address the shortage of workers?
Nick Clayton, Green: The mere existence of the current federal deficit disproves the oft-used excuse that governments cannot afford to go into debt to help citizens. Governments are not limited by their budgets and may tap into the productive capacity of their economies, if needed. Currently, interest rates remain historically low, and the negative consequences used to justify austerity have yet to materialize.
This opens the door to a conversation about extending CERB into a permanent program that replaces EI and patchwork social assistance programs.
I cannot accept that, in order for the economy to function, we need people working for poverty wages. A Guaranteed Liveable Income would establish a baseline living wage for each municipality, raising employment standards and offsetting jobs lost due to automation (e.g. self-checkout). Putting money into the hands of people who need to spend it is the best form of economic stimulus.
Affordable Housing is a key issue in keeping a stable base of service sector employees. The gap between earnings and housing expenses is so wide that many people are priced out of the communities in which they work. We need a National Housing Strategy that coordinates with provinces and municipalities to create affordable and sustainable housing.