N.S. premier apologizes after suggesting minimum wage jobs aren't 'real jobs'

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Premier Tim Houston apologized for making a statement that implied minimum wage jobs weren't 'real jobs' on Thursday. He said he chose the wrong word. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
Premier Tim Houston apologized for making a statement that implied minimum wage jobs weren't 'real jobs' on Thursday. He said he chose the wrong word. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston has apologized for making a statement on Thursday that implied minimum wage jobs aren't "real jobs."

It happened during question period when NDP Leader Gary Burrill was asking Houston about the $12.95 minimum wage. A recent report said it's not enough.

"I don't know many Nova Scotians that grow up thinking, 'Boy, I hope I make minimum wage when I grow up.' That's not the way people think, they want real jobs," Houston said.

Houston later said he was sorry and clarified what he meant by his comment.

"In the heat of the moment, I used the wrong word," Houston said. "What I meant was a better job, a career ... I apologize for that."

Burrill, whose party has been pushing for a $15 minimum wage, said the premier's statement was "degrading."

CBC
CBC

"To say that the work of cleaners and servers and people who work in corner stores and work in gas stations ... that these people are doing something a person ought not aspire to — this was insulting and beneath the premier," Burrill said.

Burrill said people making minimum wage have made "outstanding contributions to our community" during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said Houston doesn't understand how difficult it is to get by on minimum wage.

"That's not something that he's moved by ... and that's why his government is not moving on it," Burrill said.

"And that's why [the comment was] so easy for him and it flows out of him so quickly to denigrate and demean and debase the contributions of people who work low wages."

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