Editorial — Family Day is a welcome bonus

Instead of complaining about what is a relatively minor challenge, we should be grateful for an extra day off.

It didn’t take too long for a wide variety of B.C. organizations and individuals to start to look a gift horse in the mouth — in this case, the B.C. Family Day holiday.

Until 2013, there was no statutory holiday in February in B.C. While the U.S. has had its Presidents Day holiday for many years, and a number of Canadian provinces (starting with Alberta) had a mid-winter stat holiday, B.C. workers laboured without a paid day off from New Year’s Day until Good Friday. In some cases, this was close to four months.

Interestingly enough, there was a little bit of complaining about missing out, but not a great deal. Perhaps B.C., companies and workers appreciated the fact that they still had jobs and businesses. While some people had called for the paid day off beforehand, Christy Clark most definitely kick-started the idea while running for the BC Liberal leadership to replace Gordon Campbell.

After winning the leadership and the premier’s chair, Clark called for wide consultations on what day would be best for the holiday. Many people and organizations responded. The consensus was that a Family Day differing from the general stat holiday in the U.S. and other provinces would actually be good for most families. They would be able to get deals at ski resorts, go to popular tourist attractions and enjoy activities close to home — not bothered by hordes of people from out of province.

In Langley last Monday, there were many free events, such as swimming and ice skating, which proved to be very popular. People got out for walks and runs. While there was no point in going to a ski resort nearby, some people travelled to Whistler or interior mountain where there is still a decent amount of snow.

Why so much complaining about a holiday that has only been in place for three years?

It’s particularly rich that the complaining is led by the Surrey Board of Trade, as most business groups were opposed to another stat holiday — as it costs them more money for no more work. For all the years that there was no Family Day, there was very little complaining that the stat holiday did not synchronize with days off in other jurisdictions. There was no stat holiday to complain about.

There are many holidays which do not synchronize throughout the year. Many Americans travel to B.C. and many B.C. residents travel to the United States. Where is the complaining over Memorial Day in the U.S. coming a week after our Victoria Day holiday in May, or Canadians working on July 4 ?

Instead of complaining about what is a relatively minor challenge, we should be grateful for an extra day off.