Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Monday, May 03, 2004

Letter to Premier Klein re Alberta Minimum Wage 

This letter to Premier Klein on the subject of minimum wage was received a couple of days ago here at Ralph's World. It was written by Michael Marlowe of Edmonton, one of our frequent contributors. As is our policy, we will publish the premier's response to Mr. Marlowe when it is received. Please click here to see how responsive our MLAs were to our previous letters.

Dear Premier KIein,

The Editorial article in the April 28th Edmonton Journal Newspaper citing, amongst others, the comments made by the Hon. Clint Dunford at the Conservative Party's convention last weekend at Banff, has encouraged and prompted me in once more making a further submission on your government's reluctance to make any changes in the minimum wage regulations.

When our province was created almost l00 years ago, the government of the day legislated the creation of the municipal level of government entrusting residents in such jurisdictions to elect from amongst themselves individuals that would take on the administrative responsibilities set out in the Act which created such municipalities but also set down policies in providing what services and what needs would be addressed .

To reach the equanimity of trust and cooperation needed to achieve the goals of both levels of government, both had to learn to accept and respect each others' responsibilities. After all, in both levels responsibilities were focused on the well-being, safety and welfare of the people and to work co-operatively in developing initiatives to improve the economic growth that would help achieve the purposes of such focus.

During the fall of 2003, Mayors, Councilors and Aldermen representing various cities and towns throughout the province, as delegates to the annual meeting of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, approved a resolution requesting of your government to increase the minimum wage that has been at the stagnant rate of $5.90 an hour since 1999.. They were convinced that such a move would be economically beneficial for all that would be affected.

Your government Mr. Premier refused to do so and from the comments recorded in the Journal Editorial, it was obvious that would not be taking place in response to a request from some delegates attending your convention, with the Minister of Human Resources and Employment indicating he was a strong opponent of increasing the minimum wage.

Your government's position not to act continues to puzzle many Albertans as your government has on many occasions enunciated that it cares and listens and is prepared to engage in dialogue with Albertans on any issue of their concern. When we have elected municipal officials representing over 80% of the population supporting an increase in the minimum wage, Albertans would expect our MLAs would set aside their personal prejudices and objections and accept the recommendations from such officials representing such a strong element of Alberta's population.

In the past, a lot of controversy took place any time MLAs were considering increasing their remuneration. Your government, wisely in time, introduced a process which was voted in by all caucus members, but not all opposition members, providing for automatic annual increases when circumstances in the process improved. The result? - no more wrangling or complaints from taxpayers when they finally accepted the process in place.

In the public and private sector, where workers enjoyed the privilege of a collective bargaining process, employers, the government and the workers were generally acceptable of such process with disagreements only arising because of excessive wage demands by the unions on behalf of their members.

But, in the instance of minimum wage earners, they could not vote themselves automatic yearly increases and as they did not have the luxury of a collective bargaining process, they had to rely on the people they elected in the Legislative Assembly to provide them with a fair process. They soon found that those they elected would not take any action on their behalf and would not entertain a process, that would provide even annual increases based on inflationary rises in the province.

The Edmonton Journal Editorial is an excellent developed and informative article enlightening the public on some studies supporting a reasonable minimum wage. Your government should not ignore it and take the obvious action to achieve fairness for the minimum wage earners along the lines MLAs voted for themselves. It is time Mr. Premier to legislate a reasonable minimum wage with provision for an inflationary factor so that this matter too can come to rest which would provide the employers affected ample time to make adjustments when inflationary rises occur.

If the will is in your heart to do so Mr. Premier as with caucus members, you already have the necessary powers to provide and fair process for Alberta's minimum wage earners.

In closing, I would like to share with all caucus members an appropriate quote once made by William Penn:

"I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there can be any kindness I can show, or any good things I can do for any fellow human being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."

Most respectfully submitted,

Michael Marlowe

cc. All caucus members.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?