Posted on Jul 5, 2016
Raising the Bar for Everyone
Written by Robyn Luff, MLA for Calgary-East.
As a teacher in the public school system, I learned many things. I learned that every child can succeed, that every family wants what’s best for their kids, and that a lot of parents are worried about the future and what it will hold for their children. I saw kids coming to school from lower-income families who didn’t have enough to eat, or whose parents weren’t there to get them ready because they were up and gone already, working long hours for minimum wage just to pay rent and make ends meet.
Our government recognizes the struggle that many low-income Albertans face trying to succeed in a province where the cost of living has increased dramatically over the last ten years. We are implementing many policies to help: the Child Tax Credit will put money directly into family’s pockets who fall below a certain income threshold, infrastructure spending will help build schools and enhance transit opportunities and our work to curb predatory lending will help keep the most vulnerable of Albertans out of the debt-cycle.
I know that many of my constituents are working in jobs that pay minimum wage. I know that many of them are holding down two or more jobs at different workplaces.
Another initiative that I’m proud to support is the government’s move to increase the minimum wage. I know that many of my constituents are working in jobs that pay minimum wage. I know that many of them are holding down two or more jobs at different workplaces, and sometimes work long hours and split shifts just to support their families. Some of them, and I know this to be true, do make use of the food bank as well as working full time, because the money they make on minimum wage is just not enough to pay all the bills for them and their families.
I am one of the lucky ones. I had a family that was able to support me in my education both in the K-12 years and further on into university. I was able to translate that education into a job teaching and now into my role as an MLA. That’s the advantage for some of us who have a long history in this province. Through many years our parents and grandparents built up their net worth so that they were in a position to help. New Canadians, or people starting out on their own, simply cannot do that on the current minimum wage.
I am proud to stand with a government that is helping to raise the standard of living of everyone who works, no matter what their situation or history.