Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has reached into his bag of goodies and pulled out another pre-election promise: a new February holiday for Ontarians. Yet to be decided, however, is when the holiday will be celebrated and what it will be called. Liberal strategists are apparently hard at work assessing the following suggestions:
February 2nd is already recognized throughout Canada and the U. S. as Groundhog Day. Why not simply elevate its status to that of a statutory holiday? Like the movie of the same name, Ontarians could spend the day celebrating the fact that they have to relive the same political issues over and over.
February 14th is traditionally for lovers but why not make it for all Ontarians? After all, if you don’t have to go to work, you’re definitely going to be more in the mood for love. We might even learn to love our premier.
The third Monday of February is officially celebrated in the U. S. as Washington’s Birthday. But there’s no reason it can’t be adopted here as well. It’s a big boon to the retail industry south of the border and presumably could work the same magic in Ontario. To those uncomfortable with the American name, it could always be called Premier’s Day.
Public School Day
The first Friday of February could be a kind of "professional development" day for everyone. Ontarians could celebrate the strength and diversity of their public education system except, of course, for those who aren’t Catholic. For those unlucky folks, a new non-statutory observance called School Voucher Day could be marked on the last Tuesday of the month.
Now that Ontario has regular quadrennial provincial elections, why not move election day from early October to the third Monday in February? If we have to vote, we might as well enjoy it and get a long weekend, too. Who knows? We might even get a voter turnout of more than 50%.
To those who complain that we can’t afford another statutory holiday, here’s a handy compromise. Instead of having a February holiday every year, we’ll only celebrate on February 29th. The anticipation of waiting four years will only heighten the enjoyment of Leap Day, especially if by then there’s been a change of government.