Saturday November 17th — a bright blue-sky morning, and NDP volunteers were tramping through the fresh snow for a good cause. They were going door-to-door in District 12 (Charlottetown-Victoria Park), for two purposes:
- – to glean residents’ opinions about the Minimum Wage;
- – to remind residents that Joe Byrne, the Leader of Island New Democrats, will be their candidate in the next provincial election … and will be standing “for the Many, not the Few.”
At the door, householders and volunteers talked about the Minimum Wage. Now at $11.55, it is to rise, according to the MacLauchlan Government, to $12.25 next April 1st. Perhaps the 70ȼ increase is a bit of an April Fool’s thing? The extra $28 a week is enough to buy a jug of milk, a couple of loaves of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a bottle of cooking oil, and a can of soup. Try supporting a family on an annual income of $24,500, which is what a $12.25 wage yields. In fact, even a $15 minimum wage allows an income of just over $29,000 — which is barely enough to match the LICO (the commonly used measure of poverty).
Many residents were pleased to be able to put their names on a petition which is to be presented to Sonny Gallant, the Workforce Minister, to urge the Liberal Government — as they crank out the plans and enticements for what seems like an election campaign — to realize the importance of getting the Minimum Wage up to a level where it actually gets a household out of poverty.
The petition reads: $15 is Fair
Knowing that PEI wages are the lowest in the country, and that a decent minimum wage is a generator which, far from hurting small business and employment, tends to boost paycheques for all workers, and also to stimulate the economy through local purchasing,
We call on Government to raise PEI’s minimum wage to $15 an hour effective April 1st 2019.
The fight for fairness and the commitment to deal forcefully with poverty is the essence of our being as New Democrats, isn’t it?