Living on the Edge: Poverty and Politics

Home / Latest News / Living on the Edge: Poverty and Politics

It seems to me that the purpose of democracy is to give everyone the same chance at living a fair and equitable life where basic needs are met, people are safe, children are educated and fed, and general living is comfortable – a life without poverty.

It has been said that B.C.’s current minimum wage is a poverty wage. Well, statistically speaking it actually is! On March 8th 2014, The Tyee reported that, “Here in B.C., someone working full-time, year-round on the minimum wage also falls far below the poverty line, especially in urban areas. A salary based on working 35 hours per week and 50 weeks per year at the minimum wage is almost $18,000, over $5,500 short of the Canada-wide low income cut-off for large cities and still over $2,000 short in medium-sized towns. Add in a dependent and the minimum wage becomes even more of a poverty wage. The comparisons to a living wage are even starker: a living wage is $19.62 in Metro Vancouver and $16.37 in the Fraser Valley. Looking at the data, we see that the real minimum wage in B.C. has stagnated for the past three decades, at the same time as labour productivity and GDP per capita have been steadily rising.”

And not much has changed in the past two years. We as a society are still trying to pull our minimum wage workers out of poverty. Single mothers, seniors, students, young workers, etc. all benefit from a raised wage.

I began working at 14 and was on my own at 17, working at an Airport full time washing aircraft (eventually achieving a diploma in aircraft mechanics,  and shortly after joining the army). I have worked on $7.16 an hour and struggled to support myself. I know what it is to fight for a raise, to prove your worth, to argue with business owners, to educate yourself to justify a raise, and to work hard at supporting yourself and achieving your dreams one step and one pay cheque at a time. It should not be that hard to get an education and feed yourself – period.

I support a $15 minimum wage.

From personal experience, it is hard to support yourself and pay for education, raise a family, and reach your dreams. $15 is a societal need. It is fair, and is a step in the right direction. Coupled with other poverty reduction initiatives, it IS the right thing to do.

I encourage individuals to research this issue from a variety of sources, including statistics Canada to formulate your own, informed decision.

For recent historical context from between the last election and now, here are some links to get you started:


Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Photo by Sam Balye on UnsplashPhoto by Andrew Neel on Unsplash