The City of New Westminster’s recent decision to adopt a Living Wage bylaw received a surprise endorsement over the weekend from a decidedly unlikely source – a visiting Ferengi political leader.
The alien race from the Alpha Quadrant is well known for having by an obsession with profit and are notorious throughout the galaxy for their constant efforts to swindle people. The Ferengi religion is also based on the principles of capitalism: they offer prayers and monetary offerings to a “Blessed Exchequer” in hopes of entering the “Divine Treasury” upon death, and fear an afterlife spent in the “Vault of Eternal Destitution.”
Coun. Jaimie McEvoy attended the Star Trek conference held in Vancouver over the weekend and met Max Grodénchik, an actor best known for playing Rom on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
“He was very curious about our political system, how it works and why things are controversial,” said McEvoy, who had the additional surprise honour of finding out he was already known to actor William Shatner for being “that guy” who wears a Star Trek tie when launching major initiatives as a city councillor.
Grodénchik wasn’t the only Deep Space Nine cast member to give the councillor the thumbs up for the policy. Barry Jenner, who played Admiral Ross on the series, reportedly told McEvoy, “Oh yeah, the living wage, we have that in L.A. I come from a working class family, I understand that.”
A living wage is defined as being the minimum hourly wage that’s necessary for a family of four, with two parents working full-time, to pay for necessities. It is currently determined to be $16.74 an hour in the Lower Mainland, over twice the $8 an hour provincial minimum wage frozen by the Liberal governent since 2001.
Although the extra-terrestrial endorsement of the city’s new policy can only be described as a stellar achievement, it is worth noting that Rom is hardly a typical Ferengi. For years a lowly waiter who worked in a bar owned by his ruthless brother Quark, the character was known for not having the “lobes” to be a real businessman and was once cruelly described by Odo, the space station’s security chief, as “an idiot who couldn’t fix a straw if it was bent.”
Nonetheless, in a surpirse twist, Rom was appointed in the show’s final season to become the new Grand Nagus, the leader of the Ferengi people and economy, and is therefore authorized to speak for his entire race.
“I said it would be a lot of fun if the Grand Nagus could congratulate me on the Living Wage, and he said sure,” said McEvoy of the signed photograph.
Representatives of the Grand Nagus could not be reached for comment by deadline.
(This story was first published June 29, 2010. © Copyright (c) New West Record)