Monday, September 03, 2007
it gets dark at 4:30
the is selfish - but I got one word "sold".
Liberals promise February long-weekend
Sep 03, 2007 05:48 PM
The provincial Liberals are promising to give Ontarians a long weekend in February if they are re-elected.
"In our party's platform, which will presented in a few days, we will include a provision to create a new statutory holiday in the month of February," campaign chair Greg Sorbara announced today.
The holiday would fall on the third Monday in February, which is already known as Heritage day in most of Canada. So far the Liberals are calling their proposed day off "family day."
"Ontario winters are very, very long and Ontarians deserve a statutory holiday in February," Sorbara told reporters at Queen's Park.
The vote-getting pledge is reminiscent of the 1985 Liberal promise to put beer and wine in the corner store, which the David Peterson government reneged on when it got into power.
Sorbara, who is the provincial finance minister, said Ontario governments have been talking about having a long weekend during the long winter months for years, joining other provinces such as Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan.
"It's probably something that should have been done some time ago," he said.
While even Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory wouldn’t disagree with the fact Ontarians could really use a break in February, he suggested the timing of the announcement is just a tad opportunist.
“The gap between New Year’s Day and Easter is a long gap and I’m all for family having a day to be together,” Tory said just before boarding his campaign bus.
“I just have to ask why, at the very, very end of a four-year term, 38 days before an election, did he suddenly have this brain wave?”
Given the loss of some 175,000 manufacturing and resource sector jobs across the province, New Democrat Peter Kormos suggested a more appropriate Labour Day announcement might have been to offer workers some kind of assurance that the government is working to preserve good jobs in Ontario.
Noting the Liberals already killed a private members bill that would have established another stat holiday, Kormos said this announcement could end up being nothing more than another broken promise.
“There have been private members bills before that the Liberals supported, but the McGuinty government declined to put it into effect,” he said.
“We couldn’t believe his promises four years ago. We have no more reason to believe his promises today.”
But Sorbara dismissed the criticism, suggesting the Ontario economy is only now strong enough to bear an extra stat holiday. Ontario is no longer struggling to deal with the economic deficit left by the previous Conservative government and the last three-day holiday of the summer just seemed like a good time to announce it, he said.
While Sorbara admits corporate Canada is likely to scoff at the idea, he maintains the province can more than handle it economically.
“We know that initially there will be some impact on productivity. That’s always the case with a holiday,” he said.
“But our own analysis suggests we’ll make that up and more because a workforce that gets time off is a workforce that works even harder when they’re on the job.”
Adding a Family Day to the calendar would give Ontario workers a total of nine long weekends per year, putting the province on par with Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the Territories