Unravelling Conservative Labour Market Policy: The Maximum Wage Law.

The OECD and the CATO institute have both consistently ranked Canadian labour markets as some of the most flexible in the advanced capitalist world.  Indeed, Canada ranks only second to the US on most stingy when it comes to labour market protections.  Odd then, that the Conservatives have chosen labour market policy as their marquis policy signature.

From a near doubling of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program, to the new restrictions placed on EI eligibility and replacement rates, to an increase in the retirement age through to using legislation to interfere with private contract negotiations in any all federally regulated sectors of the economy this government has declared war on the minimum wage.  In effect what they are trying to do is subvert the market from raising minimum average wages in Canada in general and the West more specifically.  That is, they are trying to institute maximum minimum wages across broad sectors of the economy and in specific regions.

A wages policy, if you like, in non-inflationary times.  Now being a socialist I do not really have a problem with a wages policy per se as I think our government has the right to interfere with markets whenever the public good can be best served by interfering with private desires.  In the normal run of things, the higher a buyer is willing to pay the higher the quality or quantity will be supplied.  By increasing the amount of TFWs, restricting access to EI and increasing the retirement age, the conservatives are trying, by any legislative means necessary, to increase the supply of workers and thus blunt upward pressures on average minimum wages.

Now it is not just contemporary ‘agro’ libertarians that support maximum wage laws.  Indeed, the idea of maximum minimum wages go back to the times of the black plague of the 14th century.  In real sense then we can declare this government to be very traditional