Carol Ann Knapp, a Smiths Falls resident who drew attention by standing up at a Jan. 9 council meeting to protest some councilors’ lack of support for a basic guaranteed income in Ontario, appeared on Jan. 23 to provide further input on the subject.
Knapp, who obtained council approval to appear as a delegation, argued that recent news about the rapid progress of global warming lends new urgency to the need to make changes in society.
“A basic income would remove the tension between saving the planet and supporting the working classes,” Knapp told the council. “An economic structure which removes the financial incentive for ordinary people to destroy the plant is a good thing.”
As an example, Knapp said that fewer people needing to commute to cities for work would reduce harmful emissions.
Knapp urged to town to explore the option of becoming part of a movement known as Transition Communities. The international grassroots movement dates back to 2006. Participating towns aim to achieve greater self-sufficiency, thereby reducing reliance on fossil fuels and promoting environmental sustainability.
Knapp said becoming a Transition Community would mean focussing on improving income, food security and housing.
“There’s no way toward a sustainable future without tackling environmentalism’s old stumbling blocks: consumption and jobs,” added Knapp. “The way to do that is through a universal basic income.”
Knapp said a group called Transition Smiths Falls now has 27 members and is willing help host fact-finding sessions about how to become a Transition Town.
“The changes we can make today will someday benefit our children and grandchildren,” commented Mayor Shawn Pankow. He noted that the town has already initiated an energy audit and has looked into partnering with a private firm interested in generating hydro locally.
“There’s far more we can do, without a doubt,” Pankow added.