Working families can't wait three long years for $10 an hour



    QUEEN'S PARK, ON, March 21 /CNW/ - NDP Leader Howard Hampton says today's
hard-working families can't wait three long years for a fair $10 minimum wage
and they can't trust Dalton McGuinty to deliver on this pre-election promise.
    "Working families that desperately need a living wage aren't going to be
fooled by a Dalton McGuinty campaign promise. Dalton McGuinty can raise his
own pay by $40,000 overnight, but he's making today's families wait until he
gets re-elected. Ontario needs a fair $10 minimum wage today or people working
for minimum wage will continue to live below the poverty line," Hampton said.
    The reality for the 1.2 million Ontarians who work for less than $10 an
hour is this: Dalton McGuinty's approach will still leave them unable to raise
their families above the poverty line. A single person working 40 hours a week
at $8.75 an hour will still earn $2,600 below the low-income cutoff.
    And contrary to Dalton McGuinty's fear-mongering and torqued studies,
raising the minimum wage is good for the economy. It's good for small business
because that's where minimum wage earners spend their wages. In the UK the
minimum wage is 5.35 pounds an hour, in France it is 8.27 Euros an hour, in
Australia it is 13.47 Australian dollars an hour and in Ireland it is 7.65
Euros, all of which amount to at least $11 Canadian. They all have strong
economies and healthy job creation.
    What's more, in 2004, Santa Fe, New Mexico, raised its minimum wage to
$8.50 from $5.15. In Canadian dollars that's like raising the wage from $7 to
$10. Despite big business fear-mongering, no retail jobs, fast food jobs or
temp jobs were exported overseas. Two years later, employment has stayed the
same or gone up.
    And the harsh reality for today's families is this: This is just another
McGuinty promise waiting to be broken. In the past, McGuinty has said and done
anything to win votes only to break all those promises when in power.
    "With Dalton McGuinty promising no movement on the minimum wage until
after the next election, and after all the premier's broken promises, why
should working families believe him now? We need a $10 minimum wage today -
not more McGuinty pre-election promises we know will be broken," Hampton said.
    Hampton and Ontario's NDP believe today's hard-working families deserve a
fair day's pay for a hard day's work. That's why we want a $10 minimum wage
TODAY - a living wage TODAY - a wage that lets minimum wage earners raise
their families out of poverty today. And that's why we want regular increases
going forward that protect that wage against inflation.
    "If Dalton McGuinty can give himself a $40,000 raise overnight, he can
take action TODAY to give working families a $10 minimum wage TODAY," Hampton
said.




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