Posted on August 7, 2015
Did the Chretien Liberals eliminate the federal minimum wage? Did the Trudeau Liberals vote to make it $15? Yes and yes.
Where you stand on minimum wage laws is usually a failsafe predictor of where you stand on many other social justice issues.
Okay, Tom Mulcair’s pledge to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 applies only to 123,000 federal workers. I don’t think he ever suggested otherwise, but where do other political leaders stand on the question?
Justin Trudeau says the pledge raises “false hopes,” but does he support the idea? I would think so, given the Liberals under his leadership supported a motion to that effect brought to Parliament by Mulcair in September 2014. But after this week’s attacks on the proposal by Trudeau, I wonder.
Is he now channelling former Liberal leader and Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who eliminated the federal minimum wage in the 1990s? Maybe. Vote for a federal minimum wage and then eliminate it? That really would be raising false hopes, but there’s precedent for either action in Liberal history.
For a detailed history of the federal minimum wage issue, see this excellent survey by Toronto labour lawyer Andrew Langille.