TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s New Democrats on Saturday proposed enacting a C$15-an-hour ($13.53) federal minimum wage, as the left-leaning party, lagging in third place in opinion polls, seeks to stake out specific policy positions before a likely 2015 election.
Canada’s federal minimum wage was scrapped in 1996 by the then-Liberal government. Provinces have their own minimum wage levels ranging from C$10 to C$11. The federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 an hour.
“Restoring the federal minimum wage will help workers make ends meet and help to build a fairer and healthier economy,” NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said in a statement.
Under the NDP plan, the federal minimum wage would apply only to employees of companies that are federally regulated such as those in the financial services, telecommunications and transportation sectors.
The NDP has the second highest number of seats in the House of Commons, far exceeding the Liberals. But the Liberals leapfrogged over both the NDP and the ruling Conservatives in public support when they chose Justin Trudeau as their leader.
Mulcair has operated in the shadows of the more telegenic Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and appears willing to make specific early policy pronouncements.
Trudeau has come out in support of legalizing marijuana and the Keystone XL pipeline, but has insisted he will wait until the election campaign next year to unveil most of his platform.
Mulcair has also directed political attacks against Trudeau, rather than focusing just on Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Reporting by Amran Abocar; Editing by Peter Cooney