Minimum wage panel just another distraction

(QUEEN’S PARK) – "Instead of really fixing our failing economy, the Liberals are trying distraction and smoke and mirrors yet again," said Randy Hillier, MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington, on the back of the McGuinty-Wynne Government's appointment of a minimum wage panel.

The panel, a promise by former disgraced Premier Dalton McGuinty in his 2011 budget, has been taken up enthusiastically by his successor Premier Wynne and Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi. They claim that labour, social activists and business will all be represented. The unemployed, who may be unable to find a job due to our labour laws, are not going to be on the panel. As well, they have said nothing to suggest that regional issues will be taken into consideration, like they are in the United Kingdom.

"In Alberta, there are people pouring coffee for $7 an hour above the minimum wage. That's what economic growth does. People top to bottom benefit. If the Liberals really wanted to better the lives of our most vulnerable workers, we need better economic leadership," said MPP Hillier. Since 2003, the year the Liberals gained power, inflation-adjusted GDP per capita has increased a paltry 1.8%.

"Our economy has barely grown since Premier McGuinty first came into office. Instead of cutting taxes and red tape, instead of bringing manufacturing back to Ontario, instead of keeping electricity cheap, instead of opening up the North to economic opportunity with the Ring of Fire, the Liberals have shut things down."

"We shouldn't want anyone to make minimum wage. We should want people to make the most they can make, to be the most productive they can be. Maybe instead of having a minimum wage panel, the Liberals should make a 'squandered opportunities panel' to recommend the repeal of most everything the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals have ever done."

- 30 -