26 Sep Clark calls for pause in minimum wage increases; seeks provincial poverty reduction strategy
September 26, 2017 (Edmonton) – The NDP should pause minimum wage at $13.60 while they study the effects of higher minimum wages and create a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy, says Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark.
“Tackling poverty is the right problem, but minimum wage alone is the wrong tool,” said Clark. “There’s growing evidence that sharply higher minimum wages hurt more than they help. The NDP should pause at $13.60 – which is the highest minimum wage in Canada – and evaluate the impact on small business, the not-for-profit sector and the workers themselves.”
Clark said the NDP should focus on developing a provincial poverty reduction plan.
“The NDP have rolled out a disconnected series of initiatives,” said Clark. “There are many better tools than minimum wage to help those who really need it. Food security, mental health, financial literacy, housing, early childhood education and targeted income supports are all proven to better address poverty.
“Given the CD Howe Institute study showing Alberta’s $15 minimum wage will cost 25,000 jobs, the NDP need to pause and ensure they’re not doing more harm than good.”
“I’m saying there’s a better way. The NDP’s haphazard plan risks hurting the very people they’re trying to help. I want to help people raise themselves out of poverty wherever possible, and blunt instruments like minimum wage are not effective without a comprehensive plan that looks at the full benefits and impacts.”
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