Update: Sarah Thomson had one of her
writers lackeys write a mea culpa of sorts (read it here). It's quite bizarre and terribly written, but seems par for course in Sarah Thomson's lalaland.
What's up with politicians (and wannabe politicians) asking young people to work for free? Three years back I caught Nick Kouvalis (Rob Ford's campaign manager) bragging about committing wage theft and then in January I caught Liberal MPP Laura Albanese (ex-Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour) advertising for an illegal, unpaid internship. Today I stumbled upon a Craiglist advertisement from the Women's Post looking for an unpaid intern (screenshot above). Unbelievably, the ad states "yes, we know unpaid internships suck", yet it goes on to state that the interns will only receive transit costs and a letter of reference.
The Women's Post is owned by Sarah Thomson (Toronto's favourite dreadlocked hippie) and her husband Greg Thomson. Sarah is also the former mayoral candidate, the former Liberal candidate in Trinity-Spadina, and a freshly-minted transit advocate. Greg is a member of plutocrat Thomson family (they own Thomson Reuters, The Globe and Mail, and The Woodbridge Company).
Unpaid internships aren't a positive development for our economy, rather this type of precarious employment is exactly the opposite. Unpaid internships unfairly target young female workers, exacerbate income inequality, privilege wealthy students over poorer ones, give companies that use them an unfair competitive advantage, and drive down wages across the labour market. None of these are trends that should be encouraged. I for one would like to see the Ministry of Labour take enforcement action against the Women's Post and ensure that employment standards are being adhered to. Beyond this, it should be stated that there is nothing normal with refusing to pay young workers a wage - this goes to person's character and is a indicator of whether they are fit to hold public office.