Sunday, April 17, 2016

Andrea's Damascene Moment

In the Book of Luke, Jesus is reported to have said the following:
I tell you that ... there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
In Acts of the Apostles, Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus is described:
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The pure of heart might indeed feel that those passages resonate when contemplating Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath's recent conversion to the belief that the minimum wage should be $15 per hour, latching on to a movement that has been gaining a great deal of traction over the past few years.

The more cynical might be inclined to see Ms. Horwath's new stance as rank political opportunism. Consider, for example, how she felt about such matters just two years ago:
"Well, look, I respect the work of the grassroots movements that have been calling for the $14 minimum wage, but I think that what our role is right now is to consult with families that are affected, as well as small business particularly that’s also affected”.
At about the same time, Ms Horwath was calling for the Ontario minimum raise to rise only to $12 per hour in 2016.

Apparently, however, she has some people fooled by her newfound allegiance to the working poor, as is evident from this Star reader's letter:
Raise the minimum wage, Letter April 11

At a recent speech for the Broadbent Institute, Andrea Horwath publicly demonstrated that her party has finally seen the light on a $15 living wage.

Her announcement is all the more noteworthy in a week when the North American Fight For $15 campaign had some rather momentous victories south of the border.

Governor Jerry Brown stared down the powerful business lobby within his own California Democratic Party to sign into law a path to $15 per hour. In New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stood up to Wall Street fear-mongering and signed the Empire State’s own $15 minimum wage law.

So the question for Ontarians, in a week awash in reforms and revelations, is whether any other party leader in Ontario will stand up to Bay Street bullies and bring Ontario standards into the 21st century by finally ending the shameful institution of government sanctioned working poverty.

If we can trade carbon with California can’t we also trade good ideas or will Ontario, California beat our Ontario to $15?

Mike Vorobej, Ottawa
I have never been a member of a political party. Perhaps if the day ever comes when I detect a leader acting out of principle and integrity instead of rank political expediency, I may join one.


  1. Conviction tends to change with the direction of the wind, Lorne.

    1. Indeed, Owen. Indeed. I believe the federal NDP is just discovering this.