Something of a classic activist/establishment moment occurred in regard to the minimum wage in Ontario the other day. A commission is reviewing the matter, after something of a delay, and an election is on the horizon. The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage went after the commission chair to try living on the resources of a $10.25 per hour wage for a month. No doubt they knew the chair would be unwilling and unable to do that kind of homework. As a privileged Ontarian with four children and a professional life enmeshed with the private and public sector Anil Verma is hardly going to start eating Captain Crunch for dinner just to show how much he cares about the 540,000 workers in the province getting by on a minimum wage not increased in three years (it has actually shrunk in real terms by 6.5%!). Mr. Verma knew the challenge was part of the game and that he could blow it off with little consequence, pain in the butt that it would be. For Mr. Verma this will be a rationalized undertaking, a lot like a corporate undertaking with lots of documentation, meetings, emails and so on. Already the language associated with the reform commission seems a little weasel-like, hinting at a disinterest in bringing working people above poverty because to do so might contradict the perceived wisdom of the neoconservative project.
Panel chair says no to minimum wage challenge
image: Canadian dollar bill, 1898 via Wikimedia Commons