Moncton — In a surprise announcement made this morning outside Champlain Place, the Liberal government has promised to lower the provincial minimum wage from $10.65 to a much more livable (for business owners) $7.50.
“Wow, what a beautiful day outside!” beamed Donald Arseneault, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour. “Normally we don’t make announcements when the weather is this great — or when it’s bad — but sometimes you just gotta do your job! So anyway, back in the summer when we said we might raise minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2017, we were pretty sure that would make people adore us. That’s why we said it, in fact.
“But,” he went on, “we got a lot of unanticipated flak from business owners, who as it turns out, don’t want to pay their employees enough to make ends meet. This had never occurred to us until now. So as early as next week, those greedy wage-workers who complained about living in poverty can start budgeting for $7.50 an hour, not $11, or $15, as some people have suggested. The Liberal motto has always been: ‘If you don’t like it, you can move out West.'”
Carol O’Reilly, CEO of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, said she is thankful the Liberals have opened their hearts and minds to the plight of the business owner. “It’s so easy these days to focus on employees this, employees that, when no one ever considers what difficulties employers might be going through, what with having to compensate the people they hire,” she said. “Thankfully the province is finally paying attention to the little guy, and standing up for what’s right.”
Frank Allen, owner of a bar on Mountain Road, is thrilled to see the minimum wage drop back to what it was years ago. “No one ever thinks of the guys trying to run the businesses, how much money we waste paying actual people to do the work we need done,” he explained. “With the wage at $7.50, I might make enough profit to renovate the bar, get a new car, and even hire more people — sky’s the limit!”
Karen Grant is a bartender who works long hours for Allen, and gets no benefits such as health insurance. “I’m a single mom, and this pay cut’s going to be the death of me,” Grant said. “This is just my opinion, but I think if you aren’t in a position to pay your employees enough so they’re not starving or going without their basic necessities, you shouldn’t be allowed to hire employees. Apparently that’s an unpopular opinion in New Brunswick, though.”
After making the announcement, Arseneault crammed his large posterior into a chair at the food court to enjoy an A&W Papa Burger with cheese, the cost of which he added to his provincial fast food tab. “Mm, delicious,” he said, licking his stubby fingers. “Do you think this burger would taste any different if the person who made it were being paid $7.50 an hour rather than $10.65 or $11? Nope. I find that their tears and sweat from the frustration of a lower wage add a hint of saltiness that really brings out the flavour.”