Minimum wage debated
Re: Raising minimum wage important step in tackling poverty, Opinion, April 1
The Liberal government’s refusal to raise the minimum wage to $15 is more than a denial of life’s realities and a travesty of justice. It also sends a demeaning signal to workers that they do not merit the self-respect and sense of security which comes from earning a living wage; they must continue their struggle on a paltry $10.45 an hour while costs of food, housing, hydro, daycare and other necessities go up.
When a government puts economic development, mega projects and international reputation at the top of its agenda while relegating human needs, social programs and empathy to the bottom of its priority list, we are all the poorer for it. Countries that function best are those which do not create sharp societal divides between an underclass and corporate elite. Their governing philosophy is that every citizen has the right to have his basic needs — food, housing, daycare, medical, handicapped aids — met. Those benefits should not be “privileges” to be bestowed at the whim of government. Wellner Gagnier, Delta
Irene Lanzinger, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, writes that Canada’s lowest minimum wage is right here in B.C.— $10.45 an hour. That’s a 1.95 per cent increase from the May 1, 2012 amount of $10.25.
In 2007, the B.C. Liberals voted themselves a 29 per cent pay increase, with the premier going for 54 per cent. Reminds me of what George Orwell wrote in Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Heinz Senger, Surrey
Many are calling for a $15 minimum wage. If we want to lift workers out of poverty that way, then the increase in pay should come from government subsidy, and not from employers.
Just legislating a higher minimum wage is insane, because it dooms the most vulnerable and handicapped workers to permanent unemployment and a life on social assistance.
Recently, Nova Scotia offered to pay half the wages of certain new hires. It can be done.
B.C. should pay for MSP out of income taxes, and shift the MSP clerks to administering wage subsidies for the poor. Any such program will distort the economy, but it’s worth it to alleviate the problems that come from poverty. Maxwell Anderson, Vancouver