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September 29, 2017

United Conservatives urge NDP to choose evidence over ideology; hit pause on minimum wage increase

With just days to go before the NDP government increases the minimum wage, the United Conservative Party Caucus is urging the NDP government to press pause and release independent economic analysis that outlines the impact of this latest planned wage hike.   Multiple independent studies from respected think tanks, banks, and financial officers have shown that continuing to move rapidly towards a $15 minimum wage in Alberta:

  • Could result in at least 15,000 job losses
  • Would disproportionately affect teens, young adults, and recent immigrants, and;
  • Would not be an effective way to alleviate poverty, the main claim of the NDP government’s proposal

United Conservative Party Interim Leader Nathan Cooper said it’s time for the NDP to put aside ideology, and either conduct or release previously completed empirical evidence on one of the fastest minimum wage increases in North America.

“In the face of mounting evidence that the rapid minimum wage increase will hurt, not help, Albertans, the NDP government is refusing to hit pause,” Cooper said. “If common sense was used over ideology, the NDP would do the right thing, and not proceed with the minimum wage increase on Sunday.”

United Conservative Labour Critics Glenn van Dijken and Prab Gill said that if the NDP won’t take their word that now is not the time for another minimum wage increase, they should listen to their NDP counterpart in British Columbia, Premier John Horgan, who slowed down his government’s plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021.

“It would be entirely irresponsible for an increase to occur until the Premier publicly presents independent economic analysis,” van Dijken said. “Albertans have been through the ringer with the economic downturn. Calgary and Edmonton lead major cities in unemployment. Now is not the time to put ideology over evidence.”

Gill concluded by saying the government’s dogged determination to proceed with its aggressive minimum wage agenda is just another example of the NDP not understanding the unintended consequences of their actions, and that the United Conservatives will continue to be hard at work presenting common-sense ideas to contrast the NDP’s ideological agenda.