Green Party proposes “robot tax” to address automation and subsequent job loss
With a mass AI replacement looming on the horizon, the Green Party and its leader have proposed a “robot tax” to help address worker concerns should they be replaced by automated robots.
Even though this technology isn’t here yet, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says a pre-emptive strategy is necessary.
“We have to reduce the anxieties for the individual worker,” said May. “What does it mean for workers if they are vulnerable to being replaced, whether they’re a checkout clerk, a worker in a factory, the driver of a truck or even a doctor?
“What does it mean if we are going to turn to automation to replace a workforce? That’s worth talking about before it starts happening to us.”
May says that if a company were to lay-off an employee, that company would have to pay a tax equivalent to that employee’s income tax. Small business would be exempt from such a tax, says May.
The money the government gets would then be used to fund education and retraining programs, as well as making post-secondary school more affordable. This would allow workers to stay competitive in a rapidly changing economy.
“The last thing we need when coping with AI and how to adjust to it is a shrinking tax base because people are replaced with robots and robots aren’t paying taxes,” said May. “That’s how we are getting ahead of this issue.”
According to the Vancouver Sun, some experts say that conversations regarding such tax proposals are necessary and discussions on the issue of automation, replacement, and taxation are ongoing in thinktanks across the world.
“The idea is to make sure there’s not a sudden jolt to our tax revenue if a whole bunch of things are automated at once,” said Amita Kuttner, Green Party candidate and scientist with a Ph.D. in astrophysics and astronomy.
“Our proposal is the beginning of the conversation because there is no set precedence,” she says.
A new poll has shown that more than 50 percent of Canadians think that 2019 was a bad year for Canada, according to Global News.
The poll captured the opinions of Canadians on a wide range of subjects, including climate change and the economy, along with other minor issues. The most pressing issues, however, were subjects like climate change and wealth inequality, which Canadians are particularly pessimistic about.
on top of this, a significant amount of Canadians (29 percent) said that they were lonely “most of the time.” Another cause for concern was global warming, where 75 percent of Canadians expected global temperatures to increase.
Despite these results, the Vice President of Ipsos still thinks Canadians are feeling positive about life in Canada: “You know, while some things that Canadians are worried about have met these negative predictions … I do think that on the whole, they are feeling positive.”
This accompanies the sentiment of positivity that Canadians feel about 2020. Over three-quarters of Canadians feel that the new year will produce better results than the last year.
Nevertheless, the majority of Canadians feel that under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the economy will get worse in 2020. This negativity pales in comparison to other countries, who have expressed a far more negative outlook.
Former B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver will sit in the B.C. Legislature as an independent MLA starting Jan. 20.
Weaver’s initial announcement to step down came weeks after Weaver was diagnosed with labyrinthitis, a disease that causes vertigo, nausea, and potential hearing loss.
It was fully expected that Weaver would step down from his role as B.C. Green leader, though he was not resigning his seat in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, an essential spot for the Greens and one that the Green Party has held since 2013.
Weaver’s decision to leave the Greens, though, will not have an immediate impact on the B.C. Legislature, CBC reports.
According to a source inside the Green Party, Weaver “intends to honour the confidence-and-supply agreement” that the Green Party have in place to support the minority New Democrats.
Weaver, who himself is a climate scientist, was the lead author of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group which, with Al Gore, went on to win the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Weaver started his political career a half-decade later in 2012, going on to be the first Green elected to the B.C. Legislature. He then ran for his party’s leadership in 2015.
Councillors in Victoria, British Columbia are trying to raise their salary by more than 50 percent. They are also hoping to provide additional benefits, according to the Times Colonist.
In an online survey on Victoria’s budget, the City asked respondents whether they would agree to raise their salary to $70,100. This figure is the same median salary for city employees. Overall, this is an increase of $25,000.
Councillors are currently paid around $45,000 a year, and the mayor of Victoria receives $113,000 a year. There are no plans to alter the mayor’s salary.
Speaking to the Times, a councillor justified their pay raise by saying the city wanted to “attract professionals and others, and not just have very wealthy people serve on the council, I think we do have to set the compensation at a level that [would attract] younger people.”
The current salaries were set in 2009 upon the review of an independent commission.
Elizabeth May is out as the leader, but the Green party certainly isn’t stopping.
According to a recent report from the CBC, Jo-Ann Roberts is considering recruiting former Liberal Cabinet Minister and now independent MP, Jody Wilson-Raybould to the party’s top job.
Wilson-Raybould is the only Independent in the House of Commons after she was kicked out of Liberal Party by Justin Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Then, attorney general, Wilson-Raybould said she was bullied and pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his office to spare the SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec engineering firm with Liberal ties from prosecution.
The federal government has blocked almost all genuine investigation into the matter, with the RCMP even facing difficulties when it comes to having confidentiality waived on key witnesses.
Although hopeful, Jo-Ann Roberts has not reached out yet, as she believes former party leader Elizabeth May will take the lead on recruiting, given her close relationship with Wilson-Raybould, and the close working proximity on the hill.
May has previously attempted to recruit Wilson-Raybould, following the SNC-Lavalin affair, offering her the leadership even back then.
While the interim leader has stated her hopes to recruit Wilson-Raybould, she has also stated that her party is actively looking at other strong candidates who could join the leadership race.