“How do we Better Prepare for the Future?”: Political Ambivalence and Income Guarantees in Canadian Media
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Economies in the globalized world are undergoing rapid changes due to automation. These changes have exacerbated wealth inequality in many nations, prompting calls for more effective poverty reduction strategies. In Canada, one of these proposed strategies is an income guarantee for low-income earners. This type of policy has been used successfully in other parts of the world; however, it has been met with both strong support and resistance in Canadian politics. Thus, this opposition provides an avenue through which to study how this debate is framed in the news media to influence public opinion. Through a qualitative content analysis of Canadian newspaper articles, this research demonstrates how the news media employs arguments from both neoliberal and social welfare ideologies in the debate around the viability of an income guarantee. This paper argues that in order to gain traction in a political landscape currently characterized by neoliberalism, supporters of social welfare models must appropriate elements of neoliberal ideologies to produce effective arguments. This appropriation creates an ambivalence for social welfare advocates, as they must incorporate some of these beliefs in order to gain support and enact real change toward poverty reduction.