By Ruth Davenport - Metro Halifax
HALIFAX - Forget power rates, gas price regulation, tax relief or revamping the education system.
The Liberal election promise that seems to have everyone talking – in the early going, at least – is the much-debated February holiday.
“If nothing else, tonight’s result will eventually bring us a holiday in February,” tweeted Twitter user @lukeyduke on Tuesday evening, one of several social media users to bring up the long-awaited day off.
The February holiday has been the white whale of Clayton Park West MLA Diana Whalen since 2005. She’s introduced a private member’s resolution for a new holiday every year since then – only to have it rebuffed.
“I’ve written to each of the premiers over that time, each February, saying…would you look at this,” she said by phone on Wednesday. “None of them biting.”
Liberal leader and premier designate Stephen McNeil stopped just shy of promising to make the holiday a reality on Wednesday morning when talking to reporters.
“Obviously we’ve made a commitment to the people over that,” he said. “What that holiday will be called and how we do it, that remains to be seen.”
Whalen said the party has promised to consult with small business owners before launching the new holiday, in order to address concerns about the loss of revenue from being closed for an extra day.
That probably means no new holiday until 2015.
“We’ve promised to look at other things we might be able to do, particularly in the area of red tape reduction…that might be able to assist small business while we bring in this new holiday,” she said.
Whalen said the February holiday – which has been adopted by six other Canadian provinces – breaks up the long stretch between New Year’s Day and Good Friday without any statutory holidays.
“It’s good, I think from the personal point of view to give people a little time with their families and a chance to recharge their batteries.”