The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why is Remembrance Day not a statutory holiday?

Once again, it is Remembrance Day; and once again, a private member's bill to make Remembrance Day a statutory holiday is making legislative rounds. (This time around, the member in question is Progressive Conservative [opposition] MPP Lisa MacLeod.) Once again, questions are being asked why Remembrance Day is not already a statutory holiday.

How very short our memories are.

Not so very long ago, November 11 used to be a public holiday in Canada. It was discontinued as a federal holiday (I think in 1977 or 1978) after research indicated the vast majority of people were using it as a convenient day off between Hallowe'en and Christmas, with extremely few observing it as a day of remembrance without the reminders of school or work. Federal government offices still have November 11 off.

Yet not one Remembrance Day website even mentions this. (Lest we forget.)

My own question is rather different.

Why are elected representatives not falling all over themselves to declare a holiday to honour firefighters or electricity linesworkers? Why are soldiers worshipped while these others toil and are often killed to ensure our continued safety -- in utter silence?

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