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Protestors want to thaw minimum wage

Jesse Cullen joins other protestors outside Oshawa MPP Jerry Ouellette's office in a rally to raise Ontario's minimum wage.

By Geoff Zochodne/The Oshawa Express

A group of Oshawa residents recently sent a message to their provincial representatives, a block of ice.

Inside the ice, laid across Oshawa MPP Jerry Ouellette’s office doorstep, was a $10 bill. It symbolized the wishes of some Ontarians who want to see the minimum wage increased.

The rally to “melt the freeze” had the goal of seeing the minimum wage bumped from $10.25 to $14.

“Minimum wage workers in Ontario have had a wage freeze for the last three years,” says Jesse Cullen, who helped organize the rally. “It’s high time we gave the lowest paid workers among us a raise.”

Even though MPP Ouellette, a member of the Progressive Conservatives, is currently on the opposition side at Queen’s Park, Cullen says he should represent his constituents regardless of their “political stripes.”

It is important to “keep up the pressure,” he notes, as Premier Kathleen Wynne has a minority government and will require the support of one of the two opposition parties to pass legislation. 

“I think it’s important we don’t get caught up in partisan politics,” explains Cullen. “It’s a unique opportunity. They’re (the Liberals) going to have to make compromises.”

Similar actions took place in 12 cities across Ontario, coordinated by ACORN, Freedom 90, Mennonite New Life Centre, OCAP, Ontario Campaign 2000, Parkdale Community Legal Services, Put Food in the Budget, Social Planning Toronto, Toronto and York Region Labour Council and Workers’ Action Centre.

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