Jason Kenney speaks to the media at his first convention as leader of the United Conservative Party in Red Deer, Alta., last May. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Kenney wants to lower wages for young Alberta workers

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There’s an election coming in Alberta and Opposition Leader Jason Kenney is taking something of an unorthodox tack to try to attract votes.

Kenney says that if elected, he is prepared to roll back the province’s $15-an-hour minimum wage to $13 an hour for those 17 years-of-age or younger, something he’s mused about often.

Over the last four years, Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP government has gradually increased the minimum wage from $10.20 hourly to the current $15 an hour, the highest in Canada.

Jason Kenney and his UCP want a new scale that would pay people 17-and-under less than the current provincial minimum wage of $15 an hour. (Audrey Neveu/CBC)

“The first job that young people (and) teenagers have gives them a big boost for the rest of their life in terms of employment prospects,” Kenny told a news conference on Friday.

“By incentiving employers to hire more young people, we get younger Albertans back to work.”

Kenney says the majority of people getting minimum wage are dependents or in households with other sources of income.

“We’re basically talking about teenagers with entry-level jobs,” Kenney says.

The left-of-centre NDP begs to disagree.

“Work is work, and you don’t change how you value that work by judging who is or is not modest human capital,” said Notley when asked about the UCP proposal.

The current legal voting age in Alberta is 18.

With files from CP, Postmedia, CBC

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