In 2011, the NDP made a very embarrassing misstep. They wound up on the business end of a ruling by Elections Canada that they could not accept donations on behalf of the Broadbent Institute.
The Broadbent Institute was not yet incorporated, and thus could not yet receive donations. Not content for people to have to wait before they could donate to their front group, the NDP offered to receive and “hold” money for the think tank until it was incorporated. Elections Canada’s ruling was clear: the NDP may not solicit donations for any entity that wasn’t a political party, candidate, electoral association, or leadership contender.
The NDP had to give the money back. They were fortunate that Elections Canada chose not to pursue the matter further.
It was a forecast of things to come for the Broadbent Institute and the NDP: they are not organizationally distinct, and were never meant to be. The Broadbent Institute is a front for the NDP, and nothing more. Press Progress, as a project for the Broadbent Institute, is effectively a propaganda wing of the NDP, and they very much function like it.
Accordingly, the Broadbent Institute/Press Progress position on any given matter is the NDP position on any given matter. No real academic work gets done at this “think tank,” only partisan work. If Elections Canada isn’t counting any Broadbent Institute/Press Progress expenditures during an election against the NDP’s spending limits, they should be pressed to do so.
As the sole purpose of Press Progress is to produce propaganda for the NDP, it was no shocker when the organization published a blogpost entitled “Opponents of raising minimum wage are making minimum sense.” It should also surprise no one that Press Progress staff did minimum homework while crafting it.
“You’d think the Canadian Federation of Independent Business would want to pay people a living wage,” they snidely declare. “Yes, they call themselves ‘Canada’s job creators.’ But what good is having a job if you still don’t earn enough to make ends meet?”
Amusingly, no one at Press Progress seems to have researched the demographics of minimum wage labour in Alberta. As of 2014, only 2.2% of Albertans earned minimum wage, and virtually none of them were relying on it as a “living wage.” That 2.2% of the population is made up almost entirely of entry-level part-time workers, most of them high school students. They do not rely on it as a “living wage.”
So in their first two sentences Press Progress is swinging and missing.
They go on to mention Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco as raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars, but neglect to mention that labour unions — the driving force behind this push — are currently lobbying in California to be exempted from the minimum wage hike that they themselves lobbied for. That’s strike two.
They continue to point out that Alberta did not shed jobs the last time the minimum wage was increased. They neglect to mention that this was in 2012, that the increase was .35 cents ($10.20 from $9.85) and it happened at the beginning of an oil boom, when demand for labour was increasing.
The NDP is proposing a hike of 50% over three years, at a time when artificially low oil prices have kneecapped the sector. It seems fair to note that conditions are slightly different. Yet Press Progress chose not to. For reasons that are eminently obvious.
That’s strike three.
In a game of baseball, Press Progress would now be obligated to put down the bat and go back to the dugout. This isn’t baseball and even if it were, the Broadbent Institute and the NDP have already shown themselves to be exceedingly poor at following the rules.
After all, via the NDP, the Broadbent Institute was already getting its knuckles rapped before it even fully accomplished the task of existing.