Ontario premier Doug Ford must think he is John D. Rockefeller. That was the Rockefeller who built Standard Oil of New Jersey into the industrial bemouth of today. It was always assumed that Ivy Lee, a pioneer of public relations in the United States, had advised his client, Rockefeller, to always carry a supply of dimes to give to people he met—to counter the common view that the Rockefeller wealth came from being a skinflint.
But what is a dime worth today when Ford’s conservatives just raised the minimum wage by 10-cents an hour. After scrapping the liberal promise to jump the minimum wage in Ontario to a basic $15 per hour three years ago, Ford found it in his stone-cold heart to raise the minimum wage to $14.35. It is, of course, less for teenagers and restaurant servers.
The best description we have heard so far to this increase is that the Ford government is working to maintain poverty. More than 600,000 people in Ontario work for minimum wage.
Ford considers himself a populist and is famous for his foolish promise to his followers of “a buck-a-beer.” That never panned out either.
One of the frequent lies in social media today is that the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), that was initiated during the worst of the pandemic, has been responsible for people not rushing back to work for minimum wages.
In the Ontario market, where single family dwellings are routinely selling for over a million dollars, the minimum wage is an insult to anyone to whom it is offered. Nobody should need to work for so little.
And there is little sympathy for restaurants where servers have to rely on tips to put together a living wage. Nobody should have to rely on the generosity of customers to fill their earnings needs.
The worst example of people working for a minimum wage are the seniors who cannot pay their rent if they do not earn some extra money. For them, the Ontario minimum wage is particularly demeaning.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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