NDP: Wilkinson’s plan for “reassessment” of minimum wage shows he would cancel next increase

BC NDP Candidate Harry Bains has written to Andrew Wilkinson about the BC Liberal Leader’s commitment for a “wholesale reassessment” of scheduled minimum wage increases.

Wilkinson’s platform is silent on his plans for the minimum wage. But when asked about his plans in May, Wilkinson called for a “wholesale reassessment” and suggested the next increase scheduled for June 1, 2021 should not go ahead as planned: 

Mike Smyth: “So put up the minimum wage or not? Keep it the same? Raise it? What?”

Wilkinson: “We should probably stick with the scheduled minimum wage increase this summer and then we’re gonna have to have a wholesale reassessment of where this economy is going. Because people are very, very worried about whether they’re going to have a job at all, let alone what the wage will be.” (CKNW Audio, May 6, 2020)

In the same interview, Wilkinson made comments diminishing the contribution that essential workers make every day during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“We’ve got cashiers starting at 16 dollars an hour for scanning stuff at the supermarket. So it remains to be seen. We’ve got to keep up with the price of goods so that people can afford to live. But at the same time, that also drives up the price of groceries.”

“You know, people working as cashiers in the grocery stores are making about 16 bucks an hour as a starting wage. That’s good. But is it sustainable?”

The 171,000 British Columbians who earn minimum wage are scheduled to receive a raise from $14.60 to $15.20 on June 1, 2021. The BC NDP will tie the minimum wage to inflation after that.

Bains said: “Andrew Wilkinson’s comments diminish the contribution of essential workers and show that he’s not committed to giving minimum wage earners the raise they need during this pandemic. It’s disappointing that he has not been clear with British Columbians about his plans for the minimum wage.”