Councillor Howard Moscoe (Ward 16 – Eglinton Lawrence) tabled a Motion to Piss Off Liberals yesterday, amending a vote on a child poverty report to include support for a $10 an hour minimum wage. The debate lasted for most of the afternoon as councillors lined up to speak in support of the motion. Michael Thompson (Ward 37 – Scarborough Centre), who is often associated with council’s right wing, brought a hush over the room when his turn came to speak, choking up as he described the plight of the city’s black youth.
Thompson’s speech was mostly moving, but at times maudlin, notably when he urged politicians to “adopt a mechanism so that we never again have to have this debate.” I too wish we could put this issue behind us forever, but I’m not holding my breath. The $10 minimum wage issue first found traction last fall when Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo introduced a private member’s bill on the matter. With a provincial election coming in October, we are going to have this debate over and over and over again, for as long as it helps New Democrats make Liberals look bad. And some time down the road, when this debate is over and the timing is propitious once more, we’ll have another debate about an $11 minimum wage. Ten bucks says Councillor Moscoe moves the amendment.