Minimum wage hike could boost political fortunes

Last week’s announcement was the premier’s attempt to change the optics ahead of the election campaign, her Etch A Sketch moment

With the tentative date of the next provincial election now less than a year away, the B.C. Liberal government is taking action to stave off what will likely be one of the opposition’s main lines of attack.

Premier Christy Clark announced last week that the province’s minimum wage would rise to $10.85 an hour in September, an increase of 30 cents more than had been scheduled. The additional boost to the minimum wage was made necessary by the political tone-deafness displayed by the provincial government last year when they tied increases to the minimum to the rate of inflation without addressing the underlying fact that many workers are struggling to make ends meet. While linking hikes to the minimum wage with inflation makes sense in providing some certainty for business, it does little to benefit those working for wages that lag behind the rest of Canada.

Last week’s announcement was the premier’s attempt to change the optics ahead of the election campaign, her Etch A Sketch moment as it were.

“What the premier did today was a response to being embarrassed by the fact that we were last,” said NDP labour critic Shane Simpson.

The minimum wage is scheduled to jump 30 cents above the consumer price index again in September 2017, likely hitting $11.25. That still falls well short of the $15 an hour wage called for the B.C. Federation of Labour and being adopted by many U.S. jurisdictions.

While many might dispute the need for a $15 an hour minimum wage, it’s hard to dispute that British Columbians face some of the highest costs of living in the country. The province’s minimum wage must reflect that reality.

When the B.C. Liberal party is topping up the premier’s $195,000 salary to the tune of $50,000 a year, it would be a tough sell politically to say there’s nothing wrong with full-time workers living below the poverty line.

If this latest hike to the minimum wage can take that issue off the table, it will be political capital well spent.


Just Posted

Hopeful Sidney pot shop owner challenges town after application denied

A court petition has been filed against the Town of Sidney

Saanich-based pharmaceutical company stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Saanich garbage collection days to change in 2020

Check District of Saanich website to look up new collection day

Victoria council chambers packed for ongoing environmental cruise ship discussions

Union workers, neighbourhood associations and more gathered for environmental conversations

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read