Kathleen Wynne’s government announced, as part of a slightly desperate ramp-up to hopefully not losing the next election, that the province’s minimum wage would rise in increments to $15 by 2019. Although the increase is fully justifiable from a public policy and simple human decency standpoint, it is undoubtedly the outcome of a highly effective organizing drive by low-income workers themselves, and therefore a powerful illustration of the importance and effectiveness of grassroots organizing.
That so many people, including those working for less than $15 per hour, responded to the news with poorly articulated claims that any increase will simply be wiped out by the inflation it causes is a testament to the poverty of political discourse in this country. In fact the lowest wages are very insignificant drivers of inflation. Mostly the effects will be more groceries for people who don’t have enough and less stress for people who have too much.
There is a lot of talk these days about how young people, particularly on the campuses of liberal arts schools like Trent, need to be more open to hearing alternative viewpoints. In many ways, though, the opposite is true.
Many young people have absorbed the idea that there are two sides to every story, and are loath to state simply and clearly what they feel and know from their experience. There’s a pedantic person in their minds telling them it’s actually much more complicated and nuanced.
The success of the $15 and Fairness campaign is a testament to what happens when we ignore him.