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.