To be happy and healthy every person needs …

Submitted by Carolynn Coburn,
Concerned Citizens of Haliburton County

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, Concerned Citizens of Haliburton
County held a Basic Income Event beside the Rails
End Gallery in Haliburton to celebrate the 14th International
Basic Income Week.

People passed by on their way to the Farmers Market.
More than three dozen people stopped to chat, and
almost all of them responded to our invitation to complete
this sentence: To be happy and healthy every person
needs …

The invitation was intentionally open-ended, recognizing
that not everyone would be thinking about Basic
Income. We asked people to write their answers on
cards. The following is a summary of those answers.

Housing topped the list. Clearly, housing was considered
a prerequisite to being happy and healthy.
Responses included affordable housing, stable, secure,
adequate and safe housing, supportive housing, reliable
heating, and clean water.

Almost as frequently, people thought of needing
enough food… and a number mentioned the importance
of needing nutritious food.

People also indicated the huge importance of healthcare
and a sense of well-being. A number mentioned
dental care, being able to afford prescriptions, access to
mental health services, relief from chronic stress. One
answered “hope”; another, “freedom”; a third, “equal
rights”; and yet another, “a clear conscience”.

Many responded with reference to relationships. They
thought every person needs friends, family, community
support and acceptance to be happy and healthy. A couple
thought pets were important.

The people who thought that everyone needs a job to
be happy and healthy described that job: secure and personally
fulfilling, paying enough to relieve the worry
about meeting basic expenses.

Because people knew that it was Basic Income Week,
some wrote comments describing what a basic income
would mean to them. It would provide security and
relief from worrying about meeting basic needs. Freedom
from those worries would give a person time to
think, to broaden their horizons, to take risks, to consider
continuing their education and have time to pursue hobbies.

Finally, there were responses that reflected broader
issues of concern in the community. For some, to be
happy and healthy every person should have affordable
transportation, affordable internet service, a retirement
that is meaningful and affordable, the necessary personal
supports to live in one’s home, adequate long-term care,
and a change in the electoral system to proportional representation.
We would like to thank Rails End Gallery for their support
and everyone who took the time to participate in
this important discussion.

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Editor’s note: How would you finish the sentence, “To be
happy and healthy every person needs …” Write your response
in a letter to the editor. Why not keep the conversation going?
Do you think guaranteed basic income is a viable move? Why
or why not?