The fact that the current minimum wage does not provide people with enough to live was recognized recently by the Provincial government. A private members bill submitted by the NDP to increase the minimum wage to $10/hr passed the second reading at Queen’s Park this November.
With the Liberals and Conservatives already voicing their opposition to this bill, it is highly unlikely that the bill will get passed. Premier McGuinty warned that increasing the minimum wage would be imposing undue economic pressures on businesses, alluding that business will go elsewhere if wages are increased here. This idea is something that the Conservatives have repeated as well.
What is important however, is that no newspaper or Political party has argued that the $7.75 per hour is enough for someone to live on. Clearly this demonstrates the fact that even the political parties of the rich know that the current minimum wage is not a living wage. McGuinty’s argument also exposes the hypocrisy and uselessness of a system which acknowledges that it is only willing to pay people less than or just enough to get by on the grounds that it might inconvenience big business.
Even though the minimum wage will not be increased, the issue of wages for the poor has become an issue that the politicians have had to deal with for the first time in several years.