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Gerrard promises Sunday shopping freedom

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Manitobans ought to be able to shop 'til they drop on Sunday, with no rules about opening hours, Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard said Friday.

The Grits promised to do away with rules limiting Sunday shopping hours for large retailers. Now, stores can open only between noon and 6 p.m., a rule often griped about by shoppers and store-owners alike and one that puts Manitoba at odds with other provinces.

Gerrard said his legislation would include protections for people unable to work for religious reasons and those with "significant" family commitments.

Union leaders have frequently assailed the idea as damaging to workers who have limited family and recreational time.

But the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce said wide-open Sunday shopping rules are long overdue.

President Dave Angus said retailers ought to have the freedom to respond to customers' needs and the move would boost retail sales and increase the number of jobs for young people who often work in stores.

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