Nova Scotians could get new winter holiday

By Violet MacLeod

Maggie Henderson hangs up clothes at her retail job (Violet MacLeod photo)

Diana Whalen, a Liberal MLA for Halifax, recently renewed her call for a February holiday in Nova Scotia. Whalen has been pushing for a winter holiday in Nova Scotia for seven years now.

The proposed holiday would be called Joseph Howe Day.

Courtney Bragg with the Communications Department of the Nova Scotia Liberal caucus said the purpose of the proposed winter holiday would be to give Nova Scotians a break. The time between New Years Day and Good Friday is one of the longest periods without a holiday in the country.

Bragg said, “Having a balance between work and personal time promotes health and wellness. Sixty per cent of Canadians have this holiday, and we think Nova Scotians should too.”

Joseph Howe Day would be a statutory holiday. Retail stores would close for the day.

Effects on local businesses

Timothy Ryan, the manager of a local sporting goods store says a statutory holiday would have little effect on the service industry. Shoppers tend to spend more money the day before and after a holiday. Ryan said it would be ideal if the holiday was on the second or third Monday of a month. Average Monday revenue  is low and could be compensated by more shopping throughout the week. However on Friday the average revenue  is higher and would make it more difficult for stores to re-coup the lost sales.

Maggie Henderson, an employee at Ryan’s store was indifferent to the addition of another statutory holiday but she understands others would like the extra time to spend with family.

Henderson said the proposed name meant little to her  because she is not from Nova Scotia.

“I didn’t even know who that (Joseph Howe) was,” said Henderson.

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Maggie Henderson’s reaction to a winter holiday for Nova Scotians

Bragg explained that the name of the holiday is meant to resonate with Nova Scotians but  Whalen is negotiable on the name.

Bragg said, “Diana is open to other names such as, Viola Desmond Day.

The ratification process for a new holiday is similar to a bill. It would have to go through a lengthy process before becoming a law. The seventh year could be the charm and Nova Scotians could enjoy an extra day off in 2013.

with the Communications Department of the Nova Scotia Liberal caucus.