What is a People’s Commission?
The format for this event was inspired by the 2006 People’s Commission on security certificates in Montreal. It is a method of gathering research and data based on personal testimony. This model regards experience as expertise, while also producing a publicly accessible document that can be used as part of a larger movement to inform policy.
The hearings will happen in 5 groups of 3 testifiers, spread over 2 days. Each testifier will be supplied with the same questions. They will have up to 30 mins to answer each question. The commissioners may ask them to elaborate on their answers.
The testimonies will be compiled into a final report by the commissioners, including policy recommendations and public input, which will be presented to federal and provincial governments in 2021. The report will be made available to the public in French and English.
The commission will be recorded.
What is the purpose of this event?
Much has been talked about in the media about Basic Income recently, and there have been several advocacy pushes from the Canadian arts sector such as this open letter addressed to the Prime Minister as part of an Ontario Basic Income Network campaign. The aim of the Commission is not to pose a debate about the merits of BI, nor to argue the logistics of implementation, but,using BI as a jumping-off point, to collectively articulate a vision that is rooted in the lived experiences of Canadian artists and cultural workers.
How can I support this project?
We are looking for organizations and collectives to financially contribute to the project. Project costs include honoraria for the commissioners, translation of the report, and ASL interpretation. While anything is appreciated, contributions of $100–500 are recommended to help us reach our $10,000 goal.
We also welcome in-kind support in the form of English to French translation (for the live event as well as the final written report), if someone within your organization is equipped to offer these services.
If you would like to support this project, please contact Ben Donoghue at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who are the organizers?
This project is being organized by an ad-hoc collective of artists and arts workers who joined forces during COVID-19 isolation via the Media Arts Network of Ontario (MANO). The purpose of our advocacy committee is to organize and support responses about the ways artists’ lives have been affected by the loss of income and social supports. Over the last few months, we have held public events including a workshop on tenants rights and an arts-led discussion of Basic Income which was a precursor to the Commission.
The affinity group currently includes: Barbora Racevičiūtė, David Plant, Scott Miller Berry, Sagan Yee, Zainub Verjee, Indu Vashist, Ben Donoghue, Adriana Rosselli, Leyla Sutherland, and Holly Chang (researcher).