OTTAWA – The Canadian federal government has dismissed calls for the creation of a universal basic income as a response to the vast unemployment and economic upheaval caused by COVID-19, and has instead instituted a nationwide CERB (Cash Emergency Relief Booth) program.
“I’m proud to say thousands of Canadians have already spent their monthly three minutes frantically plucking money out of the air inside a CERB and come away with cash amounts of between $25 and $3400,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “It’s been a rousing success. For some.”
While many Canadians are upset that the government has decided against instituting a universal basic income that would be easier to administer and could be extended beyond the current period of economic crisis to permanently lift millions out of poverty, others find the prospect of stuffing as much cash as they can grab down their shirts very exciting.
“I haven’t been out of my apartment in weeks, this sounds like so much fun!” said Janine Parker, a currently unemployed secretary in Calgary. “The website signup was super easy to use, and I’m confident I can grab enough to pay rent and utilities this month. I have lightning fast reflexes when I’m desperate.”
Both the Green Party and NDP opposed the Liberals’ cash grab booth legislation and recommended UBI instead, but the Conservatives gave their full support to the initiative, though their suggestion that Canadians be handed a pair of boots before entering the booth and then be required to pull themselves up into a standing position by the straps before the cash is released was not included in the final draft of the bill.
When asked why the booths don’t distribute Canadian money, Trudeau explained that the booths were designed for use on American game shows and only distribute American cash. “But we feel that makes for a more interesting experience because we can include one and two dollar bills along with the larger denominations, which not only saves the government a little money, but makes the counting process far more unpredictable and thrilling for our citizens.”
“When we tried including loonies and toonies in a prototype booth for Canadian money, the air pressure required to make the coins airborne resulted in some fairly serious injuries,” he added.
Students, workers who earned less than $5000 last year, and anyone who is still earning any amount of money at any job are not currently eligible for three minutes in the cash booths, but the federal government has purchased some used carnival games and is guaranteeing people ineligible for CERB three tries at the ring toss to win a free corn dog.