The Montreal Economic Institute, the former employer of Maxime Bernier — former Conservative MP now leader of a new far-right splinter party — has a new study out today to support Doug Ford’s lower minimum wage laws.
And within hours of the report’s release, the MEI’s illusions have been punctured by reality.
The weakness of the report may be why the the MEI’s story has, so far anyway, only been reported on by the Toronto Sun, the paper whose editor-in-chief was formerly the communications director for Mayor Rob Ford.
Economist Michal Rozwarski has written a short analsyis of the MEI’s two pages thin paper showing the MEI has committed the cardinal sin of data cherrypicking.
Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey is, as its name warns you, a survey. And like any survey, there’s a volatility to the data. And any decent pollster will agree that volatility grows even more when a subset of the survey data is selected. Which is, of course, what the MEI’s anti-wages piece does.
As Rozwarski points out, volatility in LFS data for youth — 15 to 24 year olds — employment means you could pick two points to show whatever you want. When some two month points are selected, the result is a job increase. Other selections yield a job decrease.
Rozawski points out that when you look at the big picture, employment is up from the time of the minimum wage increase to the most recent data point.
Worth noting, the Montreal Economic Institute is a sort-of cousin to the Fraser Institute. Both receive gifts of money from the Aurea Foundation, the organization that hands out a legacy from Peter Monk, the former owner of Barrick Gold. Aurea has a pretty interesting board of directors. Aurea is also a generous funder of many fine far-right causes and hosted the Steve Bannon v. David Frumm fiasco last month.