NDP leadership candidate Nicholas Simons calls for $12 minimum wage in B.C.

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      New Democratic Party leadership candidate Nicholas Simons is calling for B.C.’s minimum wage to be increased to $12 and then tied to inflation.

      Simons today (January 12) proposed raising the $8 wage by $1 every six months from April until October 2012. After that, his plan calls for the provincial minimum wage to increase annually in line with the inflation rate.

      He also said B.C.’s $6 training wage is unfair and overdue to be eliminated.

      “I think it’s a question of making sure that people can live on minimum wage without living below the poverty line,” the MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast told the Straight today by phone.

      B.C.’s minimum wage is the lowest in the country and has been frozen since 2001.

      Simons, first elected to the legislature in 2005, acknowledged potential backlash from the business community over his proposal, but emphasized he would consult about the policy.

      “We’d need to have fulsome discussions about it and figure out ways that the impact would be such that people shouldn’t have a negative reaction to it,” he said.

      “Nobody wants their employees working below the poverty line,” he added.

      Simons suggested the additional spending power of low-income earners would benefit local economies. He added the potential reversal of the harmonized sales tax could offset some of the impact on businesses of a minimum-wage increase.

      He described his proposal as a “policy goal” and said he hopes to rally support from NDP members.

      Simons, deputy Opposition critic for housing and social development, declared his candidacy for the party leadership on January 5.

      Three other declared candidates are also campaigning for the leadership, which is to be decided by a party vote April 17.

      They include Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan, Fraser-Nicola MLA Harry Lali and marijuana activist Dana Larsen.

      You can follow Stephen Thomson on Twitter at twitter.com/thomsonstraight.




      Jan 12, 2011 at 4:42pm

      Big deal; I couldn't save a dime on $20. pr hr 25 years ago?!


      Jan 12, 2011 at 5:46pm

      It's better than what the FBERALS offered but it's not enough. The wage should be a "living wage", tied to the inflation rate.

      Tassie Devil

      Jan 12, 2011 at 6:56pm

      Minimum wage in Aus = $15 an hour, unemployment rate is 5.1%.
      Minimum wage in US I think is $7.25 an hour, unemployment 9.1%
      BC is $8 an hour and unemployment is ~7.5%.
      When the lower earners have more money to spend, they do, thus help out the economy. When the rich have all the money, the spend, but they also put a lot away, not being spent which does not help economy. A much better economy is sustained by helping out the lower classes.


      Jan 12, 2011 at 7:12pm

      The problem isn't the minimum wage. The problem is the high cost of products created by the greedy greenies with their ridiculous ideas like CFL lightbulbs. Their idea for solving a problem they don't like is to make it expensive. Then there's the attitude that they know what is best for everyone. Butt out of my life please.


      Jan 12, 2011 at 10:10pm

      Tell ya what, Nicholas, you start up a business and pay your people $12 an hour. Show us how it's done. Make it literally your business.
      Until you do, it isn't any of...

      Ken Lawson

      Jan 13, 2011 at 2:00am

      Reminder to all, and politicians, the same group that recommended the current mla's salaries also recommended the min wage be raised to $17.50 per hour, check your archives Media.

      Steve Y

      Jan 14, 2011 at 4:37pm

      It's not about raising the min wage, it's about creating lots of jobs so that people can no longer pay minimum wage to attract workers. That is the most ideal situation. However, we have temporary foreign workers whenever this happens and a completely fake "labour shortage" being reported in the media. Until we create jobs (which the NDP has no plans for) raising the minimum wage will not help the plight of the middle/working class

      Rachel R

      Jan 16, 2011 at 11:37am

      Stop giving us all false hope...it isnt fair.

      Gerry Kowalenko Vancouver

      Jan 19, 2011 at 3:07am

      Increasing the minimum wage from the lowest in Canada to something reflecting the high cost of living in much of British Columbia makes sense. It puts money into the hands of those who most likely will immediately put it directly back into their local economy....for rent...for food...for necessities. Much will go to local businesses. It will stimulate the local economy and the BC economy at a time where economic stimulus is still badly needed. Mimimum wage earners wont be taking the increased wages and putting it into off-shore bank accounts, or leaving it in their bank accounts, or using it for foreign trips and offshore investments, as would more likely be the case with more tax breaks for upper income brackets. Thats just not my opinion, but rather the conclusions of repsectable and middle of the road economic think tanks. BC badly needs to play catch-up to minimum wage levels across Canada. We're a national embarassment. In addition to being good economics, its the right and decent thing to do. How can a rich province and country like ours leave so many people in poverty, especially single parent families, families of immigrants, and the disabled. And good for Nicholas Simons. A very impressive fellow. Ive heard him speak, and know he is widely respected in his constituency. Right now I think he's my choice to lead the NDP, in spite of the uncharacteristically unkind comments levelled at him by ex leader Carole James. He actually is quite remarkable in terms of his education, his committment, and his understanding of issues. A lovely fellow. Well Spoken. Kind. Good for you Nicholas. Best of luck. We need more people like you in public life.


      Feb 19, 2011 at 5:33pm

      You start a small bussiness, you should be able to pay 12 a hour, or not get into the business @ all. I mean we did have the highest min wage @ one time, so how did people do it back then?>>>> Tell ya what, Nicholas, you start up a business and pay your people $12 an hour. Show us how it's done. Make it literally your business.
      Until you do, it isn't any of...