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Mari Jang
President, Students in Support of Free Speech

Ontario Liberals screw over the middle class once again

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As the daughter of a man who runs his own business, I am familiar with the various expenses that a business owner is hit with. Some of it is expected, and others – not so much – such as this $15 an hour minimum wage increase being brought in by Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne.

The Liberals are proving once again that they have less knowledge of how the economy works than a university student with no business background (I’m willing to admit it) aside from her family experience. How could they come out with this ridiculous plan?

Maybe the rest of us are idiots for giving the Liberals the benefit of the doubt – yet again.

They couldn’t possibly increase it to $15/hr,’ I told myself. ‘People are overreacting. It’ll likely be a one-or-two-dollar increase at most,’ I reassured myself.

Alas, alack, the Liberal Boogeyman strikes again. With an approval rating clocking in at just 12% back in March, it seems Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is desperate to claw her way back up the ranks. Though she first appeared on the scene as a progressive government official and a role model to young girls, we can now see her for the common crook she is.

My father is one of many hardworking entrepreneurs who believe in competitive wages. All his employees without a lick of experience were started at $15/hr, with all equipment, certification, training, and union fees fully paid for. This is a great act of generosity in the construction business where often, purchasing one’s own equipment and getting certified can cost people hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of dollars.

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Now, starting someone at $15/hr is no longer competitive, and my father’s value proposition has become a dime a dozen.

But wait! The negative effects of this wage hike don’t stop there. With the huge jump in minimum wage, we’ll inevitably see an increase in cost of production, materials, among others. This means people like my father will have to anticipate this, and act accordingly. Sometimes, this will result in laying good people off and reducing the quality of work to save on labour costs.

But who cares, as long as you get a few extra points in the polls, right?

Already, we see the negative effects of preposterous jumps in minimum wage with our southern neighbour, the United States. The American Action Forum predicts the minimum wage increases alone in 2017 will cost 383,000 jobs, and that the minimum wage plans currently phasing in will cost over 2.6 million jobs. This is just the beginning, and small businesses are going to be forced to lay people off and somehow increase profit to make up for the difference — or close down.

In Ontario, the current minimum wage is set at $11.40/hr, resulting in a whopping 31.6% hike. Restaurants Canada, a not-for-profit association representing Canada’s foodservice industry, says this will cost the average restaurant owner in Ontario $47,000/year, completely obliterating their average profit margin of $23,450/year.

But these numbers don’t concern you, do they Madame Premier? You don’t care about anybody but yourself.

Ontarians have had enough.

 

Mari Jang is the President of Students in Support of Free Speech