I am writing in response to the recent article about bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, by Evelyn Harford, published on Oct. 11 by the Smiths Falls Record News. I thought people may also like to know the perspective of us low-wage earners on this topic.
“ “I think we’ve got a big problem,” said Coun. Dawn Quinn.
“We need to speak up,” said Coun. Jay Brennan.” As I read these quotes, I wondered to myself if it even occurs to these councillors that us poor people read the newspaper too. At first, I was highly offended, but then I remembered that oppression isn’t always intentional. It is also often born from ignorance.
These councillors are obviously speaking for their constituents that will be facing high tax hikes and loss of jobs and hours as businesses make cuts to absorb the extra costs of an increased minimum wage. The last thing the town needs is lost jobs. They are right in that regard, people will be hurt in that way.
However, I don’t hear any councillors speaking for the 43% of town that lives below the poverty line. An increase to minimum wage is welcome news to the rest of us. I don’t think people realize how costly poverty is and how much money would actually be saved through eradicating it. Violent crime could go down, hospital wait times may decrease and kids will be less hungry.
Lost jobs and increased taxes will hurt, but not as much as children living below the poverty line hurt right now. I don’t understand how a council that voted to send a delegation to lobby for the basic income pilot, can also encourage people to “speak up” against the more livable wage bill 148 will provide. We, the poor people, are not your political football. Thank-you.