Posted on May 9, 2016

Why we need to increase the minimum wage

On May 9th, 2016, I rose in the house to speak about the need for us to raise the minimum wage in Alberta. You can watch my full comments in the video below, but here's part of what I said.

Only making minimum wage does not give you job mobility. It does not give you the ability to save for upgrading your education. It does not give you the ability to own a car.

"I rise because I want to talk about the people that we are really talking about. On average we are talking about a woman, and she is 20 years of age or older. She works full time. She has a high school education or greater, and her job is permanent, not seasonal, not temporary. She’s the head of a household, and it is her only job. There are people that work more than one job to make ends meet, but is that what we want? Is that what we want, to have the head of household away from their children more than they should be? And why is it important? You know, we need to ask ourselves in this House, in this position: do we want Albertans to be able to engage meaningfully in their communities? Do we want that person to be living paycheque to paycheque? Is that something that we really want to be ingraining in people, that they can’t make plans for the future?

Living paycheque to paycheque does not allow you to do the simple things that we all take for granted. We do these things in this job all of the time, and we take them for granted. We have the opportunity to go to the movies. We have the opportunity to visit art galleries. We have the opportunity to drive to the mountains. People making $11.20 an hour can’t do that, you know, simple things for people’s families. Purchasing a winter coat is a luxury that we take for granted."