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Media claims (BC LIberal-Labour minister) Olga Ilich is good to go for $10.00 minimum-Letter suggests otherwise
BC Liberal Labour Minister AGAINST $10.00 minimum wage? Or another BC Liberal flip-flop?  Apr 28, 2009

From: Minister, LCS LCS:EX (Jim Van Rassel)Infosource Media.
Dear Mr. Van Rassel:
Thank you for your letter of October 31, 2007 regarding minimum wage. Citizen engagement is essential to strengthening British Columbia’s democracy and I thank you for voicing your opinions. Our government continues to monitor and review our minimum and first job wage policies and your input is appreciated.
Currently, British Columbia’s minimum wage is set at eight dollars per hour - the highest minimum wage among Canada’s ten provinces. Our government has worked to ensure stable economic growth is sustained throughout the province, we have achieved this and subsequently wages in many sectors are on the rise. According to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia’s 2007 BC Check-Up report, the average hourly wage in British Columbia is $21.73. While Statistic Canada figures show youths between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four are making $12.97 per hour on average. We have also seen unprecedented numbers with regards to unemployment and job creation. In September 2007, British Columbia’s unemployment rate fell to 4.3 per cent the lowest level since the statistics started being tabulated in 1976. Since December 2001, the unemployment rate has fallen 5.7 percentage points; today there is no region in the province that has a double digit unemployment rate. British Columbia is also a leader in job creation; between August 2006 and August 2007 over 42,000 new full-time jobs were created. British Columbia’s economy is strong and employees are in demand, a fact that is reflected in average hourly wage statistics.
I would also note the steps our government has undertaken to deal with the complex issue of poverty. It is overly simplistic to simply increase the minimum wage, as independent academic research finds minimum wage increases reduce employment, on-the job training and benefits, while increasing school dropout rates. Our government has chosen to address poverty through a multi-pronged approach in which all of British Columbia’s taxpayers share the social responsibility for addressing poverty. As studies also show, an inflated minimum wage must be absorbed by business alone, and mostly small business.
Balanced Budget 2007 introduced a new tax relief structure designed to help every taxpayer and specifically those of lower incomes. As a result 250,000 British Columbians now pay no provincial income tax, while others in the low to medium income levels have seen reductions of up to 70 per cent since 2001.
Government has also moved to expand the Rental Assistance Program so more lower-income working families will qualify for benefits. This year’s budget raised the income threshold to 28,000 dollars. This means an additional 5,800 families – more than 20,000 in total – will now be eligible to receive up to 563 dollars a month to help with their housing costs. We have raised the shelter allowance for people on income assistance by 50 dollars per month, the first increase to the shelter rate since 1992. We have also enhanced Income Assistance through a 20 per cent increase in income assistance rates for employable singles and single parents, the first increase since 1994.
Additionally on the topic of housing our government has enhanced the First Time Home Buyers’ Program to exempt first-time home buyers across British Columbia from paying the Property Transfer Tax on homes valued up to 375,000 dollars. We have also alleviated the strain on low-income seniors by making the Home Owner Grant available to all British Columbians regardless of their home’s assessed value.
In addition, this year’s budget allocated an additional 27 million dollars over three years to increase the number of year-round shelter beds, an increase of almost 30 percent, while an additional 38 million dollars were dedicated to housing and support services for people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Our government has also allocated an additional 6 million dollars over three years for around-the-clock staffing in transition houses across the province, increasing the safety of women and children, and providing them with additional crisis assistance and support.
Our government has also addressed the complex medical needs of lower-income individuals and families through reforms to the premium structure of the Medical Services Plan. Individuals earning less than 20,000 dollars per year now receive a 100 per cent subsidy and pay no MSP premiums; while those earning up to 28,000 dollars are eligible for a 20 per cent MSP premium subsidy.
Our government has also addressed the poverty of seniors through the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) program. The SAFER program helps make rents affordable for BC seniors with low to moderate incomes. SAFER provides monthly cash payments to subsidize rents for eligible BC residents who are age 60 or over and who pay rent for their homes.
Once again, thank you for writing. I thank you for allowing me to engage with you on these important issues.
Olga Ilich
Notes from GPR: Politics is more often than not about metaphors. These are not loose metaphors, they are as solid in their philosophy as any physics. One needs to be trained in the art of game, and a great game it is.
For those readers who find this difficult to grasp, that's okay, allow me to give you an example of what I mean as this relates to this Olga Ilich letter.
By background, Ms. Ilich is related to well known Richmond developer Milan Ilich. Mr. Ilich's company was the one who was able to get Coquitlam city council to initially move off the LIDS environmental program for development off Burke Mountain (where longtime ROBBINS sponsor Jim Van Rassel has a residence, one where he is able to monitor water quality in the region). ROBBINS was able to move Coquitlam city council to revote the LIDS and accommodate greater environmentally sound development techniques.
Back to Ms Ilich and the letter.
Imagine the BC Liberal caucus 'House' is on fire. Finance Minister Carole Taylor smells the smoke and gets out. She can leave the BC Liberals without incident because she initially said she was only around for one term, and she helped Campbell as a favour.
(ROBBINS polling-see Sandy McCormick Vancouver Langara-Vancouver Courier publication) was the reason Campbell needed Taylor in the first place. Without ROBBINS, we likely would never have seen Carole Taylor.
Next, Carole Taylor says she might run for Mayor. This is all good enough, she gets a free pass to her waiting chariot.
Now, Olga Ilich sees Carole Taylor fleeing and decides to bust a move to save her own skin.
Here is the problem: Ms. Ilich was not begged to run as a favour to Campbell. Her position as Labour Minister on the $10 minimum is ambiguous at best. Last Friday, Global's Kieth Baldrey attempted to enable Ms. Ilich's announcement that she won't run again (her escape), and infers that she really likes the $10 minimum, or in the alternative is not satisfied with Campbell's position on it.
The letter we post on this site suggests that there is no valid basis to believe Ms. Ilich in any way supports the $10 dollar minimum wage. Her de facto support through the media is not acceptable based on political science or journalism. Ms. Ilich must publicly state that she supports the increase in minimum wage from $8 to $10.
In any event, as the new Magistrate of media and politics (albeit self-proclaimed) ROBBINS sees this political incongruence and takes the necessary steps to ensure legitimacy by ordering our political 'Daisy Cutter' team to fire. Not a kill shot, but merely a serious wound.
Essentially, Ms. Ilich now lies bleeding in the driveway between the burning BC Liberal House, and Carole Taylor's 'idling' chariot. No-one from the burning House is prepared to save her because they are (a) concerned they will be shot a la Stalin for retreating, or (b) they are Iain Black and others who don't know the difference.
I hope that helped.

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