In the increasingly ridiculous promisefest surrounding the B.C. Liberal leadership race, Christy Clark has floated a perky little idea. She'd like to see "Family Day" become a new statutory holiday in February to break up the long, break-free period between Christmas and May Day.
Good idea. Silly name.
The statutory holiday in February has been a good idea since 1973, when a fledgling Burnaby M.P. named Ed Nelson, first proposed a private members bill (which require a unanimous vote to pass), to establish a national statutory holiday in February called "Flag Day." The only vote against the bill was from Tory Eric Nielsen.
Nielsen would not allow "those progressives" to successfully pass any bill, so "Flag Day" died on the order paper, sunk by one petulant partisan.
The idea of a statutory holiday in February is still a good one. Instead of "Family Day" however, let's take the opportunity to recognize a great Canadian.
Let's name the day after Tommy Douglas.
Before responding viscerally (as my colleague undoubtedly will), take an objective look at the idea.
A statutory holiday named after a great Canadian - the greatest Canadian ever, according to Canadians in the CBC's 10-week analysis in 2004. Douglas was a Canadian who finished his political career in B.C. and a Canadian who helped champion almost every social program we enjoy in Canada, including Medicare, unemployment insurance and Canada pensions.
In fact, Douglas is a Canadian revered by Canadians of all political persuasions. Why not a statutory holiday in February, called "Tommy Douglas Day? It has a lovely ring to it.
My colleague prefers Christy Clark's "Family Day" - not because he likes either the holiday or the name, but because, like Eric Nielsen in 1973, he can't stand the thought of honouring an unarguably great Canadian just because he was "on the other side."
Can we tolerant and sensible Canadians not see past partisan politics? Should we not honour the greatest Canadian ever?
If Christy Clark were willing to look at re-naming "Family Day" and calling it "Tommy Douglas Day," she would perhaps convince British Columbians that in suggesting the holiday, she is truly being a champion for working families rather than just trying to win their votes and enhance her family values image.