We just watched Ponyo for the first time and…I think two five-year-olds just got married?

I received the following in response to my letter about the basic income pilot project that the Ontario government is cancelling. I know this is a form letter, but it doesn’t address the pilot project at all, and talks about the 1.5% increase in “support rates” as if this is up from 0%, not down from the previous government’s planned 3%.

None of this is surprising, just disappointing.

Thanks for getting in touch with me to share your views about our plan to reform social assistance in Ontario. I appreciate hearing from you.

Our social assistance programs are an important part of the safety net designed to assist our most vulnerable people. This is an important responsibility, and one we take seriously. Upon assuming government and reviewing the system we inherited, it quickly became apparent that the status quo was not working for people in need. Instead of helping people get their lives back on track, the old system left too many people trapped in a cycle they could not break out of.

We’ve set an accelerated 100 day deadline to develop and announce a sustainable social assistance program that focuses on helping people lift themselves out of poverty. Our goal is to do more to help people get off social assistance, find good jobs and get their lives back and track. While we are doing this work, we will be providing Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program recipients with an across-the-board 1.5 per cent increase in support rates to help them with a higher cost of living. These efforts will go hand-in-hand with our previous commitments to reduce gas prices by 10 cents per litre, lower hydro rates, and provide targeted tax relief for working parents and minimum wage earners, all of which will provide focused benefits to lower income families.

Social assistance will always be about compassion for people in need, but it must also be about lifting people up and helping them get their lives back on track through more jobs, more opportunities and more hope. Tackling the serious issues facing our social assistance system isn’t an easy thing to do. But it’s the right thing to do, and we’ll get this right.

Thanks again for contacting me.

Doug Ford Premier of Ontario


Ontario’s previous provincial government started a Basic Income pilot project. It was to last three years, and has just been cancelled by our new Progressive Conservative government, on the grounds that it’s “not sustainable”.

We should all be writing our representatives about this. Here’s my letter to Premier Ford and Children, Community and Social Services Minister MacLeod. Feel free to make suggestions, or copy it for your own letters.

Dear Premier Ford and Minister MacLeod,

I’m writing to express my extreme disappointment in your decision to discontinue the basic income pilot. Basic income may be a powerful tool to spend less money to help more people. (It may not be; we don’t know yet.) Similar programmes have been successful elsewhere and I was pleased to learn that the previous Ontario government wanted to study it too.

Cancelling the programme before it is complete is a waste of money and pre-supposes its results. Moreover, the reason given by Minister MacLeod – that it isn’t sustainable – is ridiculous in the face of it. By nature of its pilot status – with defined budget and, more importantly, an end date just two years from now – sustainability is not an issue. In fact, its purpose is specifically to study the sustainability (and effectiveness) of a basic income programme.

Do not make excuses. Your given reason for cancelling the basic income pilot is nonsensical, so we are forced to assume you are cancelling it simply because you don’t like it; that it doesn’t fit with your conservative ideology. Either say so, or wait until the pilot is complete so you have the necessary information to decide whether to implement a basic income programme providence-wide. (Preferably the latter.)

Jason Sadler


On the other hand, holy shit:

The new MacBook Pros are super impressive but monumentally expensive. Unsurprising, I guess, given the coprocessor is basically an iPhone 7 CPU that, yes, provides some interesting features, but is just too pricey to be worthwhile.