Minimum wage laws = theft

3 Comments

As of April 15, 2009 British Columbia will have the lowest minimum wage in Canada and BC premier, Gordon Campbell, has no plans to increase it from the current rate of $8 per hour.

Over the past year governments across Canada have been adjusting the minimum wage to more humane levels. Yesterday Ontario increased the minimum wage to $9.75 an hour.

But don’t expect the trend to spread westward.

“The 25-30 per cent increase in your wage package versus keeping your business successful, they will be forced to lay people off. That’s all the evidence we have,” said Gordon Campbell, as quoted in yesterday’s edition of 24 Hours.

This has long been the argument for keeping minimum wage rates at extremely low levels. Opponents of an increase fear that it will hurt business.

I believe that underpaying workers is an act of theft.

If for example a hamburger joint wants to stay in business the owners have to buy hamburger meat. If the price of the meat goes up they have to find a way to pay it, find a cheaper supplier or close shop. If they decided to go to the warehouse to purchase three quarters of the meat and steal the rest they’d likely be arrested and charged with theft under our laws.

I don’t see how it’s any different for labour.

If the current minimum wage laws are keeping some of these businesses afloat then they are profiting from theft.

I’ve worked several minimum wage jobs and I never worked harder in my life. A lot of those retail, food-service, cleaning and labour jobs that pay minimum wage are very demanding and thankless but this province couldn’t survive without these workers.

What do you think would happen if all the underpaid workers in British Columbia went on strike for one day?

I am a resident of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada who has blogged here for 20 years. I like to share my thoughts and feelings on my own online space. From 1998 until 2017 I worked as a journalist and I hope to use this website as an archive for all of my stories.

3 Comments

  1. I love this post! This is far more intelligent than anything that’s come out of Gordo’s mouth – ever. I agree that the minimum wage is theft. I did the calculations one time (and wrote about it in my blog), and in order to hit the Statistics Canada poverty line – ridiculously low as it may be – if you’re working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, you have to make at least $9.99/hour. Completely disregarding the difficulties of finding 40 hour/week work, the minimum wage MUST be at least $10/hour ($9.99 if you want to be stupid and cheap). More importantly, it must be indexed to the rate of inflation! The minimum wage hasn’t risen in over seven years, but inflation has gone up by way more than 0%. It shouldn’t be possible to work full-time and live in poverty.

  2. Hey Sarah!

    Can you guess that I wrote that when I was hungry?

    At the end of the day it’s us, the working stiffs, who bear the brunt of responsibility for all the crap they pull on Wall Street.

    But on the upside it appears that capitalism has collapsed and people are fully realising the peril of mindless spending.

    I think we need to talk to our grandparents who lived through the depression and ask them for financial planning advice!

  3. I love the buying 3/4 of the meat and stealing 1/4 analogy! I’m reading a well-written and researched article in Rolling Stone called The Truth About the Bailout that uses the analogy of corporate executives going to the casino and gambling with money they don’t have, then leaving the taxpayers responsible for their debts. We should just say, enough is enough, and get rid of all these leeches. Rant over.

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