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The Fraser Institute is a Canadian right-wing propaganda machine so lacking in subtlety they make Fox News look like B.C. Almanac. Oh sorry, I forgot. They are technically a charity. A charity backed by the Koch Brothers whose top 10 percent of employees earn incomes in the top one per cent of the world.

Why do I bring up how much they pay themselves? Because they just dropped a video on YouTube titled: “MINIMUM WAGE HIKES IN CANADA-BAD IDEA.” It looks like something Ayn Rand might have come up with if she took a night school course in flash animation 15 years ago.

Some people believe that raising the minimum wage will help reduce poverty,” it starts out.

Yeah. They’re called low-income workers. And they’re not “some people,” they’re the majority of Canadians. And they’re mostly women. 



Study how the Fraser Institute depicts pro-minimum wage raise protesters. Two of them are holding signs that only show a dollar sign on them while the middle figure holds a sign that simply reads “RAISE MINIMUM WAGE” like he’s Frankenstein’s monster. MIN WAGE GOOD! FIRE BAD!

To the Fraser Institute, a wage increase is all about the money — not the necessities of life that money provides. Their signs do not depict food or shelter or children. No. Just money.

In a classic case of projection, the Fraser Institute accuse low-income workers of caring only for money, when in fact they themselves are the ones literally framing the issue with dollar sings. 

The Fraser Institute alleges that there’s no need for a minimum wage increase because “88 per cent of low-income workers don’t even live in low-income housing.” 



Just because someone isn’t living a dumpster doesn’t mean they’re not poor. How is this (dubious) statistic in any way relevant?  Yes, many low-income workers don’t live in low-income housing. You know why? Because there’s not a lot of low-income housing to go around and people have to live somewhere, preferably indoors. They move into dwellings they can’t afford and pay most of their minimum wage to rent with little or nothing left over for other necessities, never mind saving anything.

This is like making the argument: 100 per cent of low income workers have eaten in the last 24 hours! They’re not that poor! That guy even pooped in an indoor toilet this morning! Stop whining and get back to work!

According to the F.I. you’re not “poor” unless you’re standing in a soup lineup dressed in a barrel and chewing on your shoe.

“60 per cent are teenagers or young adults living with their parents.” Even if this stat is true (it isn’t) what about the other 40 per cent? You know? The group comprising single mums, minorities, the mentally ill, disabled or just plain unlucky? That 40 per cent consists of thousands and thousands of people who work hard and deserve an honest day’s pay for their labour. If you’d like to meet them you can find them in line outside the PayDay Loans office on every corner of East Vancouver.



This is how the Fraser Institute imagines low-income workers. A lazy teenagers living at his parents’ house literally sitting on his ass watching television. Get a job you lazy sack of shit! Why even pay this guy? Look at this freeloader! He’s ridin’ dirty on his parents’ couch! Where’s the huge bong and gold bling? Lower that couch and pimp it! This stay-at-home playa’s got some MAD MINIMUM WAGE STACKS!



“Just two per cent are single parents with young children.”

A solitary single mum and her child. Just the one. Certainly not numbering in the thousands. Interestingly, she was nowhere to be seen in the protester group at the beginning of the video. Maybe she was too busy working at Dunkin’ Donuts and trying to make it to daycare in time because her daughter’s deadbeat dad won’t pay child support. Who’s to say? She sure as hell hasn’t got the time to visit the Fraser Institute’s website, where condescending rich men could tell her all about how raising her wages would be terrible for her and her daughter.

Guys like these! 



Nobody claimed that 100 per cent of low-income workers were single parents. This is not the issue. The issue is a reasonable living wage in the modern world for all workers (including single parents). By loading the video with made-up statistics, they can more effectively distract us from the real the argument and muddy the water with bullshit, irrelevant stats. Which is exactly what they do when you visit their website.


“Popular support for the minimum wage largely derives from the belief that it is a useful tool for boosting the wages of poor workers. However, the evidence paints a much different picture.”

Of course. Only a fool and a communist would surmise that if you increase the wages of poor workers their wages would increase, just because it makes perfect sense and is a logical English sentence.

“Hiking the minimum wage can do considerable harm, most notably by decreasing employment opportunities among low-skilled workers…increasing the minimum wage may significantly reduce employment among teenagers and other groups of low-skilled workers.”

This argument has always struck me as a veiled threat, like it should be delivered by a menacing man in a pin-striped suit and fedora through teeth chomping on a fat cigar. “Do you like having a job? Well then shut up and make do with what we (are forced to) give ya. And say hi to your kids for me. It would be a shame if anything happened to your kids.” 

These arguments are, of course, baseless bullshit.  There have been minimum wage increases in the past and Subway is still doing fine. Besides, one would have thought with all the creepy automated checkout machines in supermarkets replacing employees there would be plenty of money left over to give raises to what few workers you have left.

“There are better ways to help low-income workers.”

And what’s that solution?

“Rather than the dubious policy of increasing the minimum wage, there is a better option for helping workers from poor households, namely increasing the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB)…a refundable tax credit that allows qualifying low-wage workers to keep more of their earnings, effectively subsidizing them to work more.”

I’ll boil it down for you. Welfare. But not. (Except it totally is Welfare, they even call it that on their website.)

This proposal is the government doling out taxes to low-income workers so corporate executives can pocket even more of their profits. After all, why should corporations be on the hook for the well-being of their workers? It’s  clearly the responsibility of our government to deal with the human fallout of skyrocketing living costs, not corporate Canada, whose only responsibility is maximizing profits.

Call me crazy but I think the best way to help low-income workers is to make them no longer low-income workers. And that doesn’t mean larger tax refunds, it means raising the fucking minimum wage. Or both.

Oh and BTW, a note to the Fraser Institute? Your video looks like shit. You probably should have paid the animator more than minimum wage.

Dylan Rhymer is a comedian, writer and actor barely scraping by in Vancouver, the second most expensive city in the world. He has appeared on CBC’s The Debaters, CTV’s Comedy Now! and is the creator of his own satirical comedy site Dylan Rhymer’s State of the Week. And he works in a video store. 

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