The year is 2024 and New Brunswick has delved directly into a financial crisis and who’s to blame for it? Is it the citizens’ fault for not “working hard enough?” Absolutely not. Most residents in New Brunswick must work two jobs to simply make ends meet. The blame is, however, rightfully in the hands of CEOs who have turned to using the catchall word “inflation” to justify raising the price of products without giving a second thought to the consumer. Our premier, Blaine Higgs, just got an 18% raise, up from $152,150 to $186,252, but somehow also had a convenient $1 billion government surplus last year. When you combine that capitalist avarice with a premier that appears to care less about the financial well-being of their people, the province suffers. But how bad is it exactly?


In November of 2023, the Human Development Council determined that a livable wage in New Brunswick is still out of reach. To put this into perspective, the minimum wage in New Brunswick is currently sitting at $14.75 which currently sits roughly $9 below livable wage anywhere you look in the province. In New Brunswick’s major cities, it was determined that the livable wage would be as follows:


The lowest starting livable wage would belong to Bathurst with a livable wage of $21.65. Moncton would follow behind it with a livable wage of $22.75 with Saint John following at $23.35. While those numbers are appalling it still pales in comparison to the province’s capital of Fredericton where the livable wage is a whopping $24.50.


With the current wages being as low as they are, citizens of New Brunswick are becoming more and more vocal with their displeasure as is shown in a CBC interview with Fredericton resident Darlene Munn, where she said the following:


You just can’t get out and enjoy yourself for a visit with family and friends if they’re even a little bit of distance away because the cost of gas is unreal and the basic cost of everything [has] just gone up.”


In that same interview, she also pleads with the government for help stating:


“It seems like we’re the only ones that are suffering.… The government seems to be doing OK with themselves.… They need to consider the people more.”


The struggle of wage versus cost is nothing new but rarely in the modern day have we seen such a grim economic standing, and the issue doesn’t lie in the lack of viable solutions, for example putting a freeze on essentials as wage catches up, universal basic income etc… The issue stems directly from the lack of action from those who have been put in positions of power. Proving that the old adage, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” is just as relevant nowadays as it was 200 years ago.

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