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The Retail Council of Canada wants the provincial government’s nose out of the business of businesses – at least when it comes to hours of operation.

Jim Cormier, a spokesman for the retail group, suggests the free market should reign supreme when it comes to hours of operation – even on the Sabbath.

Getting legislative approval for Sunday openings has been a tough row to hoe for retailers in this part of the world. The Maritime provinces have been among the last to board the Sunday shopping train.

P.E.I.’s present Sunday shopping rules didn’t come into effect until 2010; even then it was a contentious issue.

With the Legislature split down the middle, speaker Kathleen Casey was forced to break the tie. She did, and stores were allowed to open their doors – but at reduced hours from the Monday to Saturday grind.

Cormier says customers want more flexibility when shopping on Sundays and contends that for businesses it is a matter of principal, in that government has no place determining when a private enterprise should operate.

In many ways he’s correct – government has become far too ingrained in how society goes about its daily business; limited Sunday shopping is just another example of unnecessary government intrusion.

The retail council will have an opportunity to have its pitch heard Thursday, during a meeting with Labour Minister Janice Sherry, who, by the way, voted against the change in 2010. The minister is on record as saying a lot of work and consultation was done before the legislative changes nearly three years ago that created today’s rules.

Regardless of consultation, polls and any other methods used for one side or the other to push its agenda, it should be up to society to determine what hours stores should open, meaning: if Islanders in fact want businesses to be closed on Sundays let them speak with their actions – don’t shop on Sundays and business owners will get the message and close their doors. If we shop so much that it becomes financially viable for businesses to open on Sunday they, in turn, will do just that.

There are very few jurisdictions in North American that allow Sunday shopping without some restrictions, but maybe that should not be the case.

Actions are indeed louder than words.

Who needs Big Brother? Let’s decide for ourselves.

Organizations: Retail Council of Canada

Geographic location: Maritime

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Recent comments

  • don
    March 14, 2013 - 20:33

    as i said dizzy owns everything on this island. and i mean EVERYTHING so you do as you are told or else.

    • Ryan O'Neil Seaton
      March 18, 2013 - 09:53

      That problem can be solved : Create legislation that forces entities like Dizzy to have one-day workers for Sundays and/or employeeswho who have no compunctions about working on Sunday's. If you even restrict the number of workers to 10% , that is still better than nothing . Even if the owners have to come run it themselves with 1 manager for each chain and one cashier etc equality is actualy better , but it's selfish to expect all stores to close on Sundays.

  • Ryan O'Neil Seaton
    February 27, 2013 - 08:35

    The substantive point : "[...] if Islanders in fact want businesses to be closed on Sundays let them speak with their actions – don’t shop on Sundays and business owners will get the message and close their doors. If we shop so much that it becomes financially viable for businesses to open on Sunday they, in turn, will do just that." What about worker's rights ? I think Scotland has some exemplar laws which protect workers rights. Push comes to shove, even if you have to write in a clause that allows only Jews and other Sabbath keepers ( Adventists etc) plus anybody else, secular or from other religions not averse to working on Sundays , then so be it. Even if you have to stipulate that only 10% of the labour force is allowed to work, then so be it if that includes the manager/ceo with some kiosks. It is better to argue for equality across the board though, but some is better than none. Yet, if some can shop ,PRODUCE (mfg etc) AND SERVE certain hours on a Saturday, others should be able to shop ,PRODUCE AND SERVE equally where desired. This semi-special vs special treatment with especially Saturday vs Sundays needs to stop. ( google " Flexi-week, work and worship" by "Clement Clementson" in the Jamaica Gleaner to see what I'm talking about. ) If this isn't , it WILL BE a Global Issue. Long live "Optional Sundays (OS) " : I have a group (and page) on facebook supporting this idea of choice on such an intrinsic matter. I look forward to sharing this editorial/article.