Wednesday, 23 October 2019

We take a look at the provincial parties’ responses to a social justice questionnaire, zooming in on commitments around welfare and people who work for very low wages. And some other observations.

New contributor Alex Kronstein suggests that an election campaign is the perfect time to bug the candidates about the underlying social causes of our healthcare crisis. In part 1 of the series he argues that when it comes to income distribution Nova Scotia could do much better. A living wage, a $15 minimum wage, making it easier for workplaces to unionize, and a guaranteed income are all measures that could make a big difference here.

Christine Saulnier, Nova Scotia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, looks at the different ways politicians propose to address poverty in Nova Scotia during this election: wage increases, social programs, tax-based incentives, or a job.

The Liberal plan to cut taxes will not benefit the very poor, while the money could have been used to raise the income assistance rates or reduce the clawbacks, she writes, while simply saying that “the best social program is still a job” ignores the many people who simply are unable to work. Meanwhile, the NDP proposal to raise minimum wage to $15 definitely helps people who are struggling to make ends meet.

The living wage in Halifax went down in 2016, a new CCPA report suggests. But there is a good and instructive reason for that. Also in the report, a living wage for Antigonish town and municipality.

Halifax Council recently awarded a cleaning contract for the Sackville Sports Stadium to the lowest bidder, raising questions about wages paid to the outsourced janitorial staff . Prior to the municipal elections several successful candidates declared that they supported a living wage. That issue was not raised during the discussions, however.