VANCOUVER – When you are the front-runner in a close election campaign, the media will dig up about every little useless information, including a third party mistake that had them paying Punjabi speaking canvassers $4 less than the regular canvassers being paid $17 an hour.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair clarified the big brouhaha, saying a company that posted an online ad seeking Punjabi-speaking phone canvassers for $13 an hour had “no permission whatsoever to use the NDP’s name.”
Not only is the $13 hourly rate below the $15 minimum wage the NDP has proposed for federal workers, but is significantly less than the $17 an hour the NDP pays English-speaking telephone workers.
“Our party did not post that ad,” Mulcair said at a book launch in Montreal, responding to a question from CTV’s Richard Madan. “This apparently was a company hired by a subcontractor.”
The ad went online in the Vancouver section of Craigslist in July, but resurfaced this week, causing controversy on Twitter.
“Our party pays all callers the same amount, which is $17, whether you’re (using) English, French, Punjabi or any other language,” Mulcair said.
“In BC, the NDP directly hires paid canvassers at $17 per hour, which is a very good rate by industry standards. We consider additional language skills, including Punjabi, Mandarin and Cantonese, to be valuable assets for our phoners. I have been very excited to see how many people want to join our team and bring change to Ottawa,” said Jinny Sims, NDP Candidate for Surrey-Newton.
“As for media coverage about a job posting that appeared for a phone project in Ontario, let me clear the air. The NDP contracted with a company called Stratcom, who in turn subcontracted with a job agency to recruit two phoners. We did not know about the subcontractor. However, when Stratcom learned the phoners were paid less than $17 per hour, their salaries were immediately topped up.”
Sims said contrary to spin by the Liberals and Conservative, the subcontractor pays exactly the same rate to all of its phoners, which is $17.