“The folks over there think it’s totally appropriate for a single mother of two or three to have to work 70 hours a week in order to earn a living wage. I say to you that they’re just wrong, and that’s why we are changing the minimum wage in Alberta.”
That’s Rachel Notley indulging in a flight of hyperbole in the Legislature last week, defending her government’s decision to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2017.
This, in a nutshell, is the NDP’s rationale for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Because of all those thousands of single mothers of two (or three) who are working 70 hours a week, thousands of businesses across Alberta will see a dramatic rise in their cost of doing business. It’s all part of something called “social justice”, in the words of the jobs minister Lori Sigurdson. Oh, and anyone questioning the government policy is “fearmongering” said the jobs minister.
The NDP seems to believe (or claims it believes) that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will create jobs, because the folks making the new minimum will go out and spend the money. (Ironically, this is the same rationale Ronald Reagan used in cutting taxes for the rich; they called it trickle down economics.) But the people who actually have to pay the higher wages say it will cost jobs and/or raise prices for the consumer.
Clearly, the government’s contention that raising salaries will increase jobs is ludicrous. This contention comes from the U.S., where some studies showed an increase in jobs after a hike in minimum wages. But you can’t credit minimum wage hikes with job creation alone. And in states where the minimum wage wasn’t hiked? Well, their job creation numbers went up as well.
No, common sense says a huge increase in the minimum wage will have multiple ripple effects. Say you’re a small business that pays most of its employees $12 an hour. In a couple of years, that goes up to $15. Your costs have gone way up. What are your options? Well, you could suck it up and slash your profits, which if you’re in retail may already be razor thin. More likely, you will have to reduce your staff numbers, or reduce your opening hours, or raise your prices, or perhaps a little of everything.
But what about that single mother of two (or three) working 70 hours a week, so beloved by Rachel Notley? Good news for them, sure, and good news for teenagers working part-time during the summer for spending money, and for pot-smoking high school dropouts whose only skill is flipping burgers. Do they deserve $15 an hour?
The NDP won’t admit it, but the $15 an hour promise was made when they never believed they would win. They came up with $15 without consulting with anyone but like-minded thinkers. Now that they’ve won, they are fulfilling their promise, which is admirable for a political party. But when the people who will be most impacted by the increase — the business owners — tell you it will cost jobs and/or raise prices, you should listen, instead of just accusing them of fear mongering.

Seems like every week the Conservatives find a way to hit new lows in their war on Justin Trudeau and good taste. The Conservatives released an attack ad on Facebook that features Islamic State images. The ad begins with a still from an ISIL propaganda video that shows five men in a cage being lowered into a pool, then one showing prisoners on their knees with explosives wrapped around their necks. After these grotesque, shocking images, we see Liberal leader Justin Trudeau confirming that he would indeed pull Canadian troops out of Iraq if the Liberals win the election in the fall. It ends with the Conservative tagline for Trudeau: “Just No Ready”. Using images of horribly murdered people and Islamic State propaganda to make a political point is so far beyond disgusting, it’s hard to believe that even the increasingly desperate Conservatives would have given it the green light.

Elsewhere, Greece defaulted on its loans to the International Monetary Fund, becoming the first developed country to be officially labeled a dead beat nation. This is big news, or so the business newspapers tell me. Personally, I don’t like Greek food and feta cheese, so I don’t really care if Greece stays in the eurozone or not.

Canada was eliminated from the Women’s World Cup last Saturday, allowing everyone to officially stop paying attention. The worst player on the Canadian team, defender Lauren Sesselmann, whose stumbling ineptitude was on more vivid display on Saturday, defended her play in an angry rant on Instagram. “I know my worth and I know all the great things I’ve done to help this team get here,” she wrote. “For all you classless people with your negative comments and threats you know absolutely nothing. You can sit there and choose to focus on every negative and pick apart our team BUT you have NO IDEA how much passion, heart and hard work this team puts in.” She finished by saying “WE WILL be back and WE WILL be better”. Let’s reword that: THEY will be back, but Lauren Sesslemann won’t. She’s 31 years old, slow and injured. She shouldn’t have been playing, and for that we can only blame coach John Herdman.

Edmontonians with nothing better to do on a gorgeous summer day come out to watch a hockey camp.
Edmontonians with nothing better to do on a gorgeous summer day come out to watch a hockey camp.

Still with sports, the mania over Connor McDavid continues unabated here in Edmonton. Here’s a picture of part of the crowd of about 3,000 who came out on a glorious SUMMER DAY to watch Oiler “orientation camp”, whatever that is. Yes, that’s a crowd of people watching an orientation camp in the summer in Edmonton. Seriously, you people. On the same topic, on Friday the Edmonton Journal (which seems to be competing with the Sun for wall-to-wall McDavidmania coverage) ran this bold headline, which has to be the greatest “Well, D’uh?” headline of recent vintage: ‘McLellan expects McDavid to play with Oilers this year’. Wow. The most highly anticipated, highly hyped, “generational player” in, well, a generation is expected to play for the sad-sack Oilers. If the Oilers had said they expect McDavid to play another year in junior or the minors, THAT would have been news worthy of a huge headline.

Westjet has a little problem with flights not landing on time, and it’s not their fault. The airline has been plagued by false bomb threats, five times in six days. I don’t know what kind of lifeless loser plays these games, but it seems to me that one way to stop them is to stop publicizing them. If Westjet or any airline gets a bomb threat, they should take the appropriate steps, but don’t call attention to it. No press release, no press conference. Make it seem like it never happened, and maybe the idiots who get their jollies doing this kind of thing will stop doing it.

RIP: Jack Carter, 93, caustic comic who made dozens of appearances on the old Ed Sullivan Show and dozens of other TV shows since TV began. Norm McDonald’s video podcast did an interview with the old comic that you can see here.

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