Minimum wage woes

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s reference to “old stock Canadians” last week raised a few eyebrows.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s reference to “old stock Canadians” last week raised a few eyebrows as well as triggering numerous interpretations as to what he meant.

He didn’t mean First Nations. Was he referring (fondly perhaps) to Canada’s early days when the Family Compact, an elite group of “upper class” immigrants from the British Isles, ruled the country? I’m told Mr. Harper’s lineage goes back several generations. Mine doesn’t. I’m just a second generation Canadian, but I’m old, white and from British stock. Does that make me old stock Canadian?

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The BC Ferry Queen of Chilliwack has been sold to Fiji. What has that to do with us? Well that  was the ship that operated the Discovery Coast Passage run that included Bella Coola. The ship received $15 million in upgrades a few years before it was decommissioned during the cost-savings service cuts in 2013. The Province won’t tell the selling price lest it influence the planned sale of two other ships, but let’s hope the salespeople got a better deal than the Campbell government got when it sold the infamous fast ferries.

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Don’t forget the first of two all-candidates meetings at Thompson Rivers tomorrow evening. You will have the opportunity to see the candidates for the Prince George Cariboo federal seat strut their stuff and hear what each party has to offer.

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B.C.’s new $10.45 minimum wage will rank among lowest in Canada, dropping down to 12th out of 13 jurisdictions in Canada.

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Presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont is being labelled a socialist, a dirty word in the U.S.

He denies the charge. He says he is a progressive, concerned with economic fairness. He describes a Utopian country with free higher education, free health care for everyone, “bolstered” wages and “chastened billionaires.” Many Canadians have that dream too.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.