July 13, 2020

Winnipeg
22° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Close this

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Tories pledge to lift holiday shopping restrictions

Manitoba PC Leader Brian Pallister says his government would repeal legislation restricting Sunday and holiday shopping if re-elected.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Manitoba PC Leader Brian Pallister says his government would repeal legislation restricting Sunday and holiday shopping if re-elected.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/8/2019 (325 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Brian Pallister says a re-elected Progressive Conservative government would repeal legislation restricting Sunday and holiday shopping.

At a news conference Friday at Dakota Family Foods on St. Mary's Road, the Progressive Conservative leader said the province would leave it to municipalities to regulate retail hours.

Manitoba is the last western province to restrict shopping on both Sundays and statutory holidays, he said. "We believe you should have the freedom and flexibility to choose when you (buy) your groceries."

The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Council of Canada have long called for retailers to have the flexibility to set their own hours based on consumer demand.

Local independent grocers, such as Dakota Family Foods and Food Fare, have openly challenged the law preventing them from opening on certain statutory holidays.

Pallister said if re-elected, his government would repeal the Retail Holiday Business Closing Act to level the field for retailers. Under the current rules, government liquor stores and cannabis stores can be open on some days that food stores cannot.

Pallister said restrictions on retail hours on Remembrance Day would remain. Businesses would still be required to close between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on that day.

John Graham, a spokesman for the Retail Council of Canada, was on hand for Friday's announcement, and applauded it.

"Across Canada, outside of (Prince Edward Island), we have the most restrictive, most complex Sunday and holiday hours." ‐ John Graham, a spokesman for the Retail Council of Canada

"Across Canada, outside of (Prince Edward Island), we have the most restrictive, most complex Sunday and holiday hours," he said.

Scott Clement, owner of Dakota Family Foods, said current Manitoba laws are outdated.

"I'm excited about it. It's long overdue," he said of the PC promise.

However, Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, said he was disappointed the party would make such a promise just a few weeks after government officials invited a labour-management committee to study the issue of Sunday and holiday shopping and make recommendations.

"Getting rid of the act completely eliminates the work-life balance for retail workers," he said. "It's an extreme move. And I don't know why they wouldn't want business and labour to problem-solve and talk through issues and give some good advice."

Meanwhile, the provincial NDP said it would also change legislation to make shopping hours more flexible on Sundays and holidays, though leader Wab Kinew said he would ensure workers' rights are protected while doing so.

"With Mr. Pallister involved, my concern would be that they're just going to change it without any other moves to address the needs of working people, that those folks will have less days off in a given year," Kinew said.

— with files from Jessica Botelho-Urbanski

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

History

Updated on Friday, August 23, 2019 at 2:41 PM CDT: fixes typo in headline

3:32 PM: Updates photo

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us