Media, business, and tourism had a very good campaign to convince Nova Scotians that Sunday shopping would be good for Nova Scotians. The retail sector, that was normally closed on Sundays, were often compared to other occupations who work on Sundays such as restaurants, call centers, police, hospitals etc. It was unfair then to expect retail workers to work on Sundays because others chose to do so.
We do not expect our government to work on Sundays because church ministers do. We certainly don't expect Tom to buy a new car because Susan bought one. Morally, it was wrong to expect retail workers to give up their Sundays. In 2004, Nova Scotians went to the polls in a binding plebiscite to decide on the issue. http://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20041017001
Nova Scotians have said no to more Sunday shopping. In a binding, provincewide plebiscite held on Saturday, Oct. 16, with 49 of 55 municipalities reporting, the unofficial total provincial vote opposed to Sunday shopping was 55 per cent.
Unofficial results on the ballot's first question -- should there be Sunday shopping (in retail businesses not now permitted to be open on Sunday) -- are:
98,726 No (55 per cent)
81,110 Yes (45 per cent)
"I want to thank Nova Scotians for voting on this important public policy issue," said Justice Minister Michael Baker. "Our government made the commitment to let Nova Scotians decide the Sunday shopping issue, and today the majority made its collective choice clear. Sunday shopping will remain as it is now -- governed by the Retail Business Uniform Closing Day Act."
Two local grocery chains decide to take the government to court over the issue, as they did not have a level playing field. Pete's Frootique a local grocer subdivided his stores so he could open up on Sundays, while the two chains also subdivided their stores to open on Sundays. Rodney MacDonald premier at that time, said it was ok for Pete Frootique to subdivide , while the grocery chains were not. The issue went to the courts. The general public was under the impression , that the courts struck down the Sunday shopping ban. This isn't what the courts ruled on. The courts ruled on discrimination, not the Retail Business Uniform Closing Day Act.
http://decisions.courts.ns.ca/nssc/2006/2006nssc290.html - on the courts web site it clearly states,
"Well, what this application is about is not about social or political considerations. It’s not about the appropriateness of Sunday shopping, nor is it about the power of the legislature to pass an Act dealing with Sunday shopping. This case, this application is about one fact and it is about the scope of the Cabinet’s power to pass Regulations pursuant to the Act."
MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD spoke at the Legislature on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2006
"Mr. Speaker, but certainly their position added to the confusion and perpetuated the idea that somehow the courts had struck down Sunday shopping in our province. That simply did not occur."
1) It is not right for a government to support playing one occupation off against another. Other occupations have the right to lobby and protest that to the government to be included in any law;
2) The Plebiscite was binding, Nova Scotians voted No;
3) Clearly the courts never ruled on the Retail Business Uniform Closing Day Act. Stores by law should have never been allowed to open. The courts did not rule on this.
4) Sunday shopping has not improved family life but has hurt it;
5) Prices have increased since Sunday shopping and its costs have been passed down to the consumers. Low income and seniors struggle to pay bills.
6) Valerie Payn spokeperson for the Chamber of Commerce admits that there is no extra money being made by being open on Sundays "Given that per capita expenditure (adjusted for inflation) has not increased it appears also that the opportunity to shop an extra day has not driven people to purchase what they don’t need any more than they did before, they can just do it at a time that is more convenient to them."
7) High gas prices hurt us all by stores being open seven days a week. More people are driving , yet spending more in stores is not happening. We can help reduce gas prices with less store hours.
8) Our environment comes into play, with so many cars on our roads and pollution. We can help cut emissions by closing stores one day a week.
9) Lights are on seven days a week, adding costs to us the consumers .There is no extra money by being open another day. So who pays for this? We do!
10) Most important, one day of no traffic and a day that is quiet. A day that is different from all the rest.
11) If we can push for a family day in February, Why not push for 52 family days.!