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Lake not in favor of holiday in February

Throughout the race to pick a new premier of B.C., there have been plenty of ideas and suggestions kicked around by the various candidates.

Throughout the race to pick a new premier of B.C., there have been plenty of ideas and suggestions kicked around by the various candidates.

But one such proposal is likely to bring a smile to the face of anyone who can’t bear the three months between New Year’s Day and Easter without a holiday.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidate Christy Clark has proposed introducing a Family Day holiday during February to break up the winter.

The third Monday in February is a statutory holiday in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario (called Family Day), in Manitoba (called Louis Riel Day) and in Prince Edward Island (called Islander Day).

That same day is a statutory holiday in the United States that marks the birthday of George Washington, America’s first president.

Clark is suggesting the holiday fall on the third Friday in February.

Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake, on the other hand, is no fan of the holiday plan.

He said there needs to be consideration for the impact the holiday might have on families who own small businesses.

“I understand the sentiment, but I think it’s something that needs to be looked at from different points of view, rather than the obvious benefits of another day off,” Lake said.

Given the fragility of the economy as it comes out of recession, Lake said, many people in business want to make sure the province’s finances are on firm ground before the policy is looked at seriously.

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger said he had looked into a February holiday to celebrate the Olympics, but said his research showed it would come at a “horrendous” cost to the government and private sector.

He noted during a statutory holiday, collective agreements kick in for all kinds of 24-hour government services, from police officers to hospital staff, who get paid double or triple time.

Krueger said he wished Clark had spoken with some Liberal MLAs before floating the idea.

Tourism Sun Peaks president Christopher Nicolson said mountain-resort staff hasn’t discussed the idea, but did suggest holiday periods are beneficial for many tourist destinations.

“Is there a positive benefit for the resort industry and Sun Peaks? Absolutely there is,” Nicolson said.

“Would we welcome it? Most likely.”

Nicolson noted the February U.S. long weekend has long been the resort’s busiest weekend.

Nicolson is confident most businesses would welcome the holiday.

The local teachers’ union is also in favour of an extra day off in February.

Jason Karpuk, president of the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers’ Association, suggested the day would give students and teachers time to catch up.

“I think it provides that needed break,” Karpuk said, noting it’s a practice elsewhere in Canada.

“It’s a long haul to go between January and spring break.”

Karpuk said it’s not an issue for which the union would necessarily push, but he he did argue it’s in the public interest to have a holiday in February.

“I think its a good thing for families,” he said.