increase to make it make it illegal for many more to sell their
March 22, Toronto - Freedom Party leader Paul McKeever today said that raising the minimum wage is immoral because it will make it illegal for even more individuals to trade their labour for the economically rational prices that employers will pay. Yesterday, the Toronto Star reported that Finance Minister Greg Sorbara will today announce a 25% increase in the minimum wage, phased in at 75 cents per year over the next three years.
"In a mature and complex economy" says McKeever, "an individual needs the money to live and be happy. It would be immoral for your next door neighbour physically to prevent you from selling your labour for $15 per hour. For that reason, laws have been made to throw your neighbour into jail if he does such a thing.
"Morality does not change if your next door neighbour pays someone else to physically to prevent you from selling your labour for $15 per hour. Morality does not change if he and your other neighbours elect the person who is paid to prevent you from selling your labour for $15 per hour. Morality does not change because that rogue puts a golden crown on his head. And it does not change simply because the number is $15 instead of $10.25. It is morally wrong for the government to prevent employees from selling their labour for the price for which they consent to sell it. Period.
"Let's be Frank: some things are black and white. There are no degrees or shades of gray between right and wrong. The person who murders, imprisons, or steals from one innocent person is not less immoral than the person who murders, imprisons, or steals from ten. The viciousness of the government's anticipated wage hike is not changed even if the number of job-losses resulting from this 25% minimum wage hike is reduced by phasing-in the hike over three years. If raising the minimum wage renders just one individual's labour too expensive to be economically feasible, and leaves him or her unemployed, the government has committed a grave moral wrong against him or her. It has violated that person's life, liberty and happiness. That is the exact opposite of what the government is supposed to be doing.
"There is a moral role for government in employee-employer relations. Government is the proper and necessary guardian of consensual conduct between employers and employees. First and foremost, the government is right to use fines et cetera to keep physical coercion, fraud or dishonesty out of relations between employees and employers, but there is a host of ways in which the government is letting employees down in this regard. For example, there is an epidemic of abusive schemes to dismiss salespersons to avoid paying them long-earned commissions. Yet the government seems to find the ending of such frauds and dishonesty entirely unimportant.
"Responding to an electoral loss in York South-Weston, where the minimum wage issue is thought to have contributed to the loss of a Liberal seat, has apparently trumped government's concern for a morally sound role for government in employee-employer relations. We can only hope that this is another promise that Mr. McGuinty will break."
This media release distributed to all major news media in Ontario and to Ontario's MPPs.
Freedom Party of Ontario