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LETTER: Time for a living wage

In Quebec, obligations become unenforceable after certain time periods have elapsed. In the case of a demand loan, the period is three years, Allan Lanthier writes.
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I am one of the fortunate ones with some money put aside, a roof over my head and a reasonably well stocked larder.

There are many of us who are not so fortunate. In these days of ever decreasing circles of encounter we will be increasingly less likely to meet the working poor who are about to become, in many cases, the unemployed poor.

They are the people who live cheque to cheque and scrape the rent, utility payments, and food budget together on a monthly basis, often through an exhausting and impressive process of juggling multiple jobs and finding ingenious ways to stretch every dollar.

Single parents, mostly women, are particularly challenged and their children often left wanting despite their best efforts.

The jobs that these fellow humans and their dependents rely on have already evaporated or about to do so. They will have no safety net and hundreds of thousands will be unable to pay their rent and feed either themselves or those who rely on them for the necessities of life.

They will be joined by many older people whose investments have evaporated and who no longer have the income to support themselves.

It is time to implement a living wage for all. How do we pay for it? Seems pretty clear to me: we implement a Robin Hood Policy through taxation. The time has come, time for us all to demonstrate our humanity in dollars and cents.

There’s lots of virtue signalling going on which, although well meaning, will have minimal real effects as the various handouts and charitable donations are not a sustainable solution.

COVID-19 will take many lives, yes, and hopefully our efforts will mitigate the volume but the unseen effects of not supporting the poor will no doubt be exponentially worse over time. Capitalism and the markets cannot assist us in the face of a disease that knows no bounds, our common humanity can, time to share the wealth whether it is ill-gotten or not.

How much are you prepared to give up to allow your fellow humans a chance to survive and thrive?

William Radford
St John’s


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