Chicken Little should be getting royalties from Thursday's Hamilton stop on the minimum wage travelling road show that Queen's Park is touring through Ontario.

"The sky is falling" was the operative idiom, in an impassioned, sometimes testy debate, as the circuit version of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs heard submissions at the Sheraton Hotel.

Poverty groups, small business associations, union delegations, manufacturers, equal pay advocates and others weighed in: Can Ontario afford to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019 (as per the Wynne government's proposed Bill 148)? Can it afford not to?