CERB opens the door to a new Canada.

For all the weaknesses, errors and misunderstanding of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the program is the solution to Canada’s future economy. And when the government extended the program the other day, it put the country on the road to build that new economy.

What the government has done with CERB is set a new base level for a minimum wage and opened up opportunities for a healthier, happier society, with better opportunities for higher education.

As one young man told me recently, he never has been better off. He is making more money from the government than he has ever been paid before. No company is going to hire him at minimum wage while the government is paying the equivalent of $20 per hour. This kid is not lazy. He is enjoying his summer, despite the pandemic, and will be heading back to university in the fall with some money in the bank to keep him going. Are there smart businesses that will offer him more?

And by no means do I believe that the government is paying him too much. Though the impact might be more inflationary than intended.

While I have to admit that I was initially shocked at the potential impact of CERB, I recognize it now as genius. It has broken the barriers to the fiction of the ‘middle class.’ It has created options for all. It has opened doors to true democracy. CERB is the first step to an effective guaranteed minimum wage for Canadians.

That does not deny that it creates problems for seniors. These are the people left in the ‘middle class’ economy. They are still waiting to be paid that placebo for seniors of a one-time covid-19 $300 or $500. It is just a prize that seniors are getting for missing the cull of the pandemic. The government will have to seriously address the need for improved old age security (OAS) payments in the future.

We should all tell Justin Trudeau how smart his government is to have come up with CERB.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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