NDP leader wrong about minimum wage

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Despite her party’s claim to understand the issues facing Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael’s recent comments on increasing the minimum wage again shows this is not the case.

First, the minimum wage has risen significantly in the past decade. Since forming government in 2003, the Progressive Conservatives have raised the minimum wage by 66 per cent. Similarly, the party has committed to increasing the minimum wage by 25 cents this October and again in October 2015.

This growth has been larger than wage increases in the private sector during the same period and has provided a fair base wage for residents of this province.

Secondly, larger increases in the minimum wage will only put a larger strain on small business owners and lead to increased costs, which can be directly passed onto the consumers through increased prices or onto their employees by reducing their hours of work.

Neither action results in a better situation for the low wage earners of our province, despite the NDP leader’s statements, especially since less than four per cent of full-time workers are paid the minimum wage. Overall, the NDP continues to show they are out of touch with the people of this province and unfit to lead.

Devin Drover, president

MUN Conservatives

St. John’s

Organizations: NDP, Progressive Conservatives

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Recent comments

  • Corporate Psycho
    September 04, 2014 - 17:22

    Sounds like a mini Richard Alexander. Talk about out of touch. Typical PC rant.

  • Iain E.
    September 04, 2014 - 14:08

    I find it interesting to see the degree of resentment and passion some advantaged people have to the very concept of other people being able to have a living wage and to be able to work and live with a semblance of dignity. Are you people really that unfilled with your own lives that you feel you have to pass judgement on those who don't have your opportunities? Do you really have nothing better to complain about? Oh right, you poor babies have to pay taxes. Life must be so hard for you.

  • Donald
    September 04, 2014 - 09:39

    A few questions: If only 4 percent of workers work for minimum wage, how would a modest increase bring the economy tumbling down? Would you be willing to work for minimum wage? Would you be willing to pay the full cost of your university education without having minimum wage workers subsidizing it?

  • Matthew
    September 04, 2014 - 08:27

    The minimum wage is already high enough. I work for virtually minimum wage (10.20) and it is very reasonable. As the article mentioned, only 4% of people are actually paid the minimum wage. People also refuse to give credit to the PCs for raising minimum wage. Minimum wage is perfect where it is. However, I believe the federal government should try to eliminate inflation. This would remove any need for minimum wage increases and would stop stealing money from Canadians every year. Taxes are also insanely high and need to be cut.

    • Jeff
      September 04, 2014 - 09:15

      Part-time work goes hand-in-hand with minimum wages, so the 4% figure is totally misleading. I find it odd to find that someone claims to work for minimum wage declares it to be enough. Do you pay for rent, transporation, food, etc? I find it even more odd that they whine about taxes being too high, although they're in the lowest tax bracket. Perhaps you should have a word with Robb who feels that your are living off his taxpaying back.

    • Matthew
      September 04, 2014 - 17:08

      I am currently a student and do not need to pay all the expenses someone else might, however many people working with me believe they receive fair compensation for the work they do. Low-skilled workers should not be paid as well as those who invest time, hard work and money in their future. Low skilled work should not become a career, but even so it is possible to live, though not as comfortably maybe as those who have professional training, such as college or university. Taxes are too high on everyone. Our tax burden has increased much more than any other expense, and is the average Canadian's greatest expense. We need to cut taxes as much as possible and stop letting government steal our hard-earned money.

    • Jeff
      September 05, 2014 - 08:18

      So you forgot to mention that you're a student. A MUN Conservative, no doubt. Why should low-skilled work be paid less -- It's still work. And since when is “low-skilled” synonymous with not having a post-secondary education? Not everyone has the same privileges as you do and cannot afford the luxury to go to university, but could be three times as intelligent. Some people are not academically gifted... why should they be penalized any more than someone who is short? For that matter how does post-secondary equate itself with high intelligence? Perhaps people who work in physically demanding jobs should be paid more or people who work in more dangerous environments. Why not? Why should “low-skilled” work not be a career? On what do you base that ridiculous assertion? All your assumptions are built on an elitist model that perpetuates wealth and privilege in the same hands. I find your complaints about tax burdens amusing- especially the part about government “stealing” your “hard-earned” money (somebody just discovered Ayn Rand – in the school library). I won’t go into how absurd that statement is, what do you think pays for the vast bulk of your education? Here’s a hint: it’s not your tax-deductible tuition.

  • Samuel J.
    September 04, 2014 - 08:12

    Can't think of a better example of the Titanic 'deck-chair' phenomena than this (MUN) Tory response to Lorraine Michaels. Psych students at MUN would know the technical term for it - displacement.

  • Robb
    September 04, 2014 - 08:03

    What don't you people understand? Stop begging for minimum wage increases and go educate yourselves. Then you, and you alone can control your wages. The NDP want to put the minimum wage increases on the backs of mostly the middle class...the ones who pay most of the taxes, and yes, the same ones who don't get a GST rebate, no electricity rebate, and more. These people who have at one point or another in their lives have chosen not to better themselves, but rather rely on the system to survive. This is just sickening to see Loraine Michael tell us that we have to pay more for these people who don't want to help themselves, and it is driving retail prices through the roof! Go to school, or go back to school, and make something of yourselves. No sweat off Michael's back, she's not the one having to pay the wages, and I am sure the story would be different if she was a working retail owner, trying to keep the business going. Best advice, Michael, keep your nose out of it and let people fend for themselves.

    • Jeff
      September 04, 2014 - 09:04

      There's nothing like the smug, self-righteous opinions of the privileged. So, we need people working for poverty wages (sadly, slavery isn't an option) otherwise retail business wouldn't be able to survive. (Tim Horton’s/Burger King?) Yet everyone should "educate" themselves (presumably through attending private colleges and universities- as public institutions are a drain on taxpayers) to end up along with the rest of the “educated” unemployed at which point they will have to go back to take the same minimum wage jobs to survive on AND pay back student loans so that people like Robb can buy cheap, slave-made $#!t at Walmart. And if you’re worried about the “retail prices going through the roof,” what do you think will happen if all the clerks quit to “improve themselves” to become whatever-the-duce-you are? Demand for retail workers will go up, wages will go up, and you will still be sniveling about having to pay $20 for a pair of throw-away shoes. Blaming minimum wage workers and, presumably, their Bangladeshi counterparts for the “through-the–roof prices,” while the owners walk away with billons in profits seems a little… stupid. It seems, Robb , that you’re the one benefitting from the system.

    • Robb
      September 04, 2014 - 12:03

      Hey Jeff, like hell I am benefitting from the system. I am paying through the nose for it. So, never mind your stupid "smug" and self-righteous" comments, as it just sounds pitiful. And you don't know where I shop, so again, poke the crap where you can. My comment is strictly, hey, go get an education. If you don't want that, then there are the jobs that you qualify for. And just because they do not pay what you want, you have to come crying foul on the minimum wage. We are all in control of our own lives Jeff, so if you want to bring up slavery and Bangladesh and blaming minimum wage workers, knock yourself out, but you are only skirting the issue to which you cannot defend. "All the clerks quit"? How stupid.

    • Fred
      September 05, 2014 - 08:52

      Robb, I think the point you're missing is that you "pay through the nose" for "the system" because you are in a position to, financially. That's how this system works -- those who have more pay more to support those who have less so that those who have less don't starve to death in the street. The unfortunate part of that concept is that, thanks to the common (though false) Conservative idea that it's possible to simply work yourself into a financially stable existence on a level playing field, those who have more continually attempt, through political pressure and policy, to pay less and less. The core issue is that "bettering yourself" is no longer a simple option. Though you yourself, perhaps, haven't actively disenfranchised anyone, your belief in the Conservative concept of a level playing field has. There is no level playing field because those who control the economy (the heroic 1%, let's say) have tilted it in such a way that those who have less than they do (all 99% of us, you included) are forced to climb uphill while profits run back down to them. So. Assume, then, that someone does decide to "better themselves" and go back to school. They would do so because their current position doesn't afford them enough money to comfortably live on, correct? Because education isn't free (free education being, naturally, a liberal concept, and one that the NDP seems to at least say they believe in), that person now has two options: save enough of their already severely stretched minimum wage to go back, or enter into the predatory student loan system and take on an exorbitant amount of debt. Now assume they managed to get through without accruing too much debt. They have successfully "bettered themselves." (Ignoring the fact that they have actually put themselves in a worse economic position than they were in before they were "bettered.") Now what? They have become "better" but, sadly, no education program that I know of comes with a cash bonus and a plum job at the end. The job search begins. Because the majority of our educated population are overeducated and underemployed, there aren't enough jobs to support all the "bettered" people. So they flood the low-wage, turn and burn positions they tried to escape from. Let's be generous and say a full seventy five percent of these "bettered" people find good jobs. What, then, happens to the other twenty five percent? They followed your plan. They "bettered" themselves. But, strangely, that didn't seem to matter. What I'm trying to get across is that the Conservative ideal -- that hard work is appropriately rewarded -- is false. It always was. Well, perhaps not always. The Conservatives did actually work very hard to set the system up in their favour. Think about that the next time someone serves you coffee, or waits on your table. If it wasn't for age, timing, luck, whatever, they would be "paying through the nose" for you.

    • Rhonda
      September 05, 2014 - 09:10

      Wow! 'These People" who serve you coffee and pump your gas and clean your office and pick up your garbage really don't deserve a higher wage? You pompous ass. This country was built on the backs of labourers. I would love to see how you treat "these people".

  • Colleen
    September 04, 2014 - 05:44

    Given that the largest benefactors of starvation wages are multi-national retailers, please explain why the PCs feel that workers should subsidize their already hefty profits by living in poverty.

  • Charles Murphy
    September 04, 2014 - 05:37

    Just cut taxes, It will put more money into everyone pockets, at the same time, stimulate the economy.