Opposition parties like the idea but call timing cynical
Toronto (5 Sept. 2007) - Ontario's Liberal government is promising a new Family Day statutory holiday in February if it is re-elected on Oct. 10. Workers get statutory holidays off with pay or must be paid overtime if they work.
Alberta was the first province to legislate a Family Day holiday in February 15 years ago. Saskatchewan followed in 2007 and Manitoba is expected to do the same next year. All three northern territories also have a statutory holiday in February. The holiday is observed on the third Monday of February.
The government of Premier Dalton McGuinty timed the announcement for the Labour Day weekend.
"Ontarians work very, very hard. Ontario winters are very, very long and Ontarians deserve a statutory holiday in February," said Finance Minister Greg Sorbara. "I think this is going to be very, very welcome in Ontario. It's something we've talked about for more than a decade."
The opposition Conservative and New Democratic parties welcomed the idea but each criticized the Liberals for waiting for an election to make the announcement.
NDP Leader Howard Hampton called the timing an attempt to divert attention from the loss of 175,000 manufacturing and resource jobs in Ontario.
Conservative Leader John Tory said voters will view the timing as cynical. "Why did Mr. McGuinty wait until now to do this?" he asked.
The Liberals currently hold 68 of the 103 seats in the Ontario Legislature. The Conservatives have 24 seats and the NDP 10. One seat is vacant. Redistribution will raise the total number of seats to 107 when the election is held.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring that our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE