Old anti-poverty idea — guaranteed minimum income — getting new life in Alberta

National Post

With its economy tethered to oil prices, Alberta is known for unconventional, even experimental economic policy.

When he was Alberta’s finance minister, Stockwell Day implemented Canada’s only flat tax. Ralph Bucks, also called “prosperity bonuses,” redistributed a massive temporary surplus through payouts to citizens, while also respecting the province’s value of freedom from government bureaucracy.

Now, with oil prices in the tank and the NDP holding a new majority, a new experiment may be in the works.

A guaranteed minimum income, known as a mincome, has long been a pipe dream of economists across the political spectrum, but especially left-wing anti-poverty activists, people like Joe Ceci, a former Calgary alderman who was a star NDP candidate — and is Alberta’s new finance minister.

Jeff McIntosh/CP/Files Jeff McIntosh/CP/Files

The idea of traditionally conservative Alberta as a testing ground for a left wing social policy might seem strange, but it has increasing support.


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