The Star reports a raise for Ontario's poorest workers:
"Mar 21, 2007 04:30 Am
QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU CHIEF
The Liberal government will ramp up the minimum wage to $10.25 by 2010 in a provincial budget tomorrow that has been designed to help Ontario’s poorest children and their families.
As first disclosed in the Star this morning, the $8 hourly wage will rise to $8.75 next year, $9.50 in 2009 and $10.25 in 2010."
Well it's about bloody time. I suppose now some of the working poor might get together to buy Jason Cherniak a beer to cry into.
“That’s an issue of concern to all of us and particularly it’s become more pronounced given that we now fully understand that many of these kids are showing up for school and they are not ready to learn…it compromises our ability to build a strong, competitive economy,’ McGuinty told reporters."
Not to cast doubt on motive but let me cast doubt on motive. I'm guessing that what Mr. McGuinty is now fully realizing, is that there are quite a few voters looking at their kids going without and his party might go without some of those votes come election time. Motive aside, this is the right thing to do. This is a wealthy province. It is simply wrong to allow institutionalized poverty to continue. McGuinty is right, though he couches his words, the province will not prosper when thousands of children go to school hungry.
"The decision to increase the minimum wage comes after weeks of pressure on the government from poverty activists and the New Democrats."
Ah, the assistance needed to "fully understand".
"McGuinty said, "just as it would be irresponsible to hold the minimum wage at $8 an hour indefinitely, it would also be just as irresponsible to raise it to $10 an hour overnight."
Damn straight Dalton old bean. A 25% increase in wages overnight is irresponsible. Unless you get to award that kind of increase to yourself, I suppose. After all, a 25% wage hike for the well off increases competitiveness while a similar wage hike for the poor will kill jobs. That's the operating rationale down there at Queen's Park, right?
"...study to be released by Sorbara will warn that 90,000 to 180,000 jobs could be lost if the minimum wage is increased by 25 per cent in one fell swoop.
Sorbara commissioned University of Toronto professor Morley Gunderson to study the impact of a $2 hike.
Gunderson, paid $24,000 for a sobering 50-page report that took him six weeks to complete, found such a dramatic rise in the wage could cost even more jobs than the 66,000 the finance ministry had estimated."
Check. In politics, it is always important to buy a fall-back position. And you get what you pay for. Now I know nothing about Professor Gunderson, he's probably a very nice guy. But, for $24,000 I would hope his sobering report could be a little more specific. I never took a stats course but 90,000 to 180,000 seems like a pretty generous margin of error. After all, $24,000 is $7,360 more than a person making the new minimum of $8 an hour will earn working full time for a year, before taxes. At $480 per page, Dr. Gunderson must be one sober cat. And he spent six whole weeks figuring it all out, I'm sure he burned through a lot of pencils earning that $4,000 a week for this little project. Not a bad part time job for a guy paid $110,807.88 for the 2000 school year.
"The minimum wage issue has become a difficult political problem for the Liberals.
Last month, the governing party lost a by-election in York South-Weston, once one of the safest Liberal seats in Ontario, when New Democrat Paul Ferreira toppled a McGuinty-anointed candidate, Laura Albanese.
With a provincial election on Oct. 10, the Liberals are concerned about their left flank, which is why tomorrow's budget is designed to steal some of NDP Leader Howard Hampton's thunder."
I think I'm beginning to fully understanding some things too Dalton. 'Tis the season to buy some votes, just like big Steve. Still, a little hope for the little folks is better than none.