Majority of Albertans don’t support minimum wage hike: survey

A business organization last week presented a survey that shows a majority of Albertans do not support the NDP government’s...

A business organization last week presented a survey that shows a majority of Albertans do not support the NDP government’s drive to raise the minimum wage in this province.

“This Return On Insight (ROi) survey was commissioned by Restaurants Canada to explore public attitudes toward the proposed increase in the minimum wage in Alberta to $15 per hour by 2018,” stated a press release June 27. “The online survey of 757 Alberta adults took place between June 17 and June 21, conducted with a cross section of people recruited for ROi’s online panel based on demographics and region.

“According to a survey commissioned by Restaurants Canada, almost two thirds of Albertans think raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2018 is too much for businesses to handle given the state of the Alberta economy (64 per cent agree).

“Bruce Cameron, President of Return On Insight, noted, ‘Albertans want the government to delay implementing their proposed minimum wage hike due to widespread concerns about the Alberta economy and the ability of businesses to absorb such a large increase during a recession.’”

The Official Opposition quickly noted, “On Monday, Restaurants Canada warned the nearly 50 per cent hike from 2015 levels, on top of a hurting economy, will lead to the shutdown of even more businesses across the province. A new survey also suggests 61 per cent of Albertans think a minimum wage hike should be delayed.

“The NDP claims to be on the side of working families, but their policies are spurring even further job losses and uncertainty in communities right across the province,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “The NDP government has an opportunity to show pragmatism instead of sticking rigidly to ideology. It’s time for the government to follow the Wildrose lead and be on the side of job creation and stability for Albertans.”

Committing to an unrealistic minimum wage hike during a historic recession suggests many things about the government currently in power in Edmonton. Stubborn pig-headedness comes to mind. “We already committed to the minimum wage hike, it’ll be embarrassing to go back now,” muse the politicians. Plus, what would the Sierra Club and Council of Canadians think?

Then there’s the economic ignorance inherent in dogmatic NDP manifesto decisions that have been made since the last provincial election. Instead of letting the market dictate when wages rise, a brain trust in Edmonton has decided that they know best. Has the brain trust also decided where businesses will get this extra money? Are they aware that the extra money comes from customers? Are they aware customers will face inflation, as is always the case when this 1960’s Love Bug mentality to meddle in the economy rears its head? Are they also aware how this inflation will affect other parts of the economy, like rental rates?

The NDP are currently consulting with Albertans about the minimum wage hike, which is a waste of taxpayer money. Consultations conducted by the Government of Alberta, based on what Premier Rachel Notley has clearly stated on the record, are public relations exercises as the NDP have already stated they’re raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2017 according to the government’s timeline. A waste of taxpayer money.

The situation is very similar to Bill 6, the farm labour bill, which was passed by the NDP majority in the provincial legislature last fall with no consultation with farm families; consultations are apparently now being done. Seem pointless? Not really. It makes perfect sense as a PR exercise; Something had to be done. Notley and her government took a PR beating over that farm bill.

The Restaurants Canada survey showed six out of 10 Albertans think the NDP should stop the minimum wage hike during a recession; it’s probably the same 6 of 10 Albertans who voted against the NDP in the last provincial election.

Realistically, if the NDP wants to make life better for everyday or working class Albertans, encourage people to place a high value on education. Encourage more people to graduate from high school in this province, and make it easier for people to go to college or university.

With a proper education, a worker will find myriad possibilities open up in the work world that will have far more benefit to Alberta than a few dollars an hour could ever manage.

 

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