Minimum wage increases a hot-button issue
Staff/Voice file photo
Monday, Chilliwack MLA John Martin had a chance as Liberal Labour Party
Critic to make a statement in the Legislature.
Several times throughout
his statement he was heckled and had to stop and wait for it to quiet down.
statement, he admonished the NDP for shelving the George
Massey Bridge and Site C dam projects and blasted them on the
"messy" way the party applied for intervener status on the Kinder
Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline which cost BC $7500 extra.
Martin seized on the opportunity to rail again on the NDP regarding the Northwest LNG which he
said would bring in "thousands and thousands" of long-term jobs.
Between the pipeline, the Site C dam and LNG projects he said the province lost
$36 billion in new revenues.
Martin stepped outside of his purview as Labour Critic and
reminisced how it was in the 1990s calling it "dismal years" and
during the recession in 1980.
He added that in the 1990s, BC tended to rely more on Asian trade
than with the US. But seems to have forgotten the importance of a
strong trade relationship now with the USA as that's where the
majority of BC food comes from, but he didn't forget to say "Go
Also in the 1990's, he said the government of the day had to rely on
equalization payments from other provinces and insinuated that BC may
have to rely on those payments again to "keep the lights on"
with this NDP budget. But many would see Martin's comments as a
false flag and a shocking divergence of logic.
Flash forward to the present, because that's where most people are, Martin said the NDP has to move with caution regarding
minimum wage increases and questioned how $15 an hour would be
attained without affecting small business adding that many
would close shop because of the increases or would turn instead to
automation with things like tap and pay technology and how there
would be fewer servers in restaurants because of it.
He said the Liberal budget had a small increase worked into their
budget as well but warned that a $15 an hour increase by 2021 will hurt small
business especially when owners are already working 80 hours a week
to make ends meet.
Martin punctuated his comments by calling the NDP reckless with the announced increase and said that they would would be "tormenting" small
business with the thought of minimum wage going up and how they wouldn't have time to plan for it
— despite the 4 year
timeline the NDP has said they will phase it in by. Martin said he
wanted to avoid creating the hardships an all-of-a-sudden increase would
He also indicated that teens and young people would be negatively
affected when trying to land jobs but didn't say how.
the minimum wage 50˘ would mean a $4 increase on an 8-hour day, $20
on a week and $80 a month — before taxes.
The reality is that an $80 monthly increase wouldn't help people
much who are living on a minimum wage of $11.35 with vehicle payments, rents that
consume half their wages and increases to basic utilities.
MLAs receive a $105,881.83 annual wage and cash bi-weekly cheques of
$4,062.22 and get to write off expenses — a far cry from the current
In comparison, minimum wage earners
pull in $15,080 annually for a 40-hour-a-week—before taxes
and MSP premiums and cash bi-weekly cheques of under $600 and do
more work, much of it swinging hammers on construction sites,
changing oil or working at places like McDonalds. Plus, they'll need
to work decades to draw a pension.
BC MLAs pay 11 per cent of their salary to their pension fund but can
draw a full pension after just 6 years, or 1˝ terms in the Legislature. In 2011,
the BC government paid $2,451,280 to pensions. If the person dies
then their spouses get 60 per cent in perpetuity.
The bottom line is as minimum wage increases, small business
understands increases have to come and they understand inflation rate
as well, so it's not out of the question
to imagine they'll just pass on any increases to customers.
So, no worries, right?
These comments are based on the provincial Hansards and MLA Martin's
statement which are in draft form only.
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