The Richmond Review, Wednesday, June 30, 1981

by Graeme Elliott

The great non-issue of the day is this business of Sunday shopping. It is instantly recognizable as a non-issue by the fact the noise surrounding it is out of proportion to the issue itself.
Granted, it is a big issue to the two Richmond firms which opened on a Sunday, and now find the weight of the judicial system poised over their heads. They are victims of the Holidays Shopping Regulation Act.
Apparently it is also a big issue to the citizens who were so morally outraged that these businesses were opne on a Sunday they felt compelled to complain to the RCMP.
One wonders if these worthy citizens are business competitors of the firms which opened their doors on a Sunday.
One wonders if they lodged their complains on a Sunday? If they did, did they phone their complaints to the RCMP? Were they shocked to find BC Tel runs its business on a Sunday? Were they surprised to find members of the RCMP working on a Sunday to take the call?
Perhaps they drove to the local detachmnent, discharged their duties as
citizens and then stopped at a fast-food outlet on the way home. Perhaps they filled the gas tank as well, shopped at a corner grocery store, bought some magazines at a drug store, listened to the radio blaring its advertisements, and cursed the noise of jets, landing at the airport as the airlines plied their trades. On a Sunday.
Maybe they turned the day in a family outing, and went shopping in Blaine.
It is admirable these citizens performed their duty to report an infraction of the law, even though they may have been confused as to why this law applies to some, and not to others. Could it be this law is ill-concieved, shoddily drafted, discriminatory, inane, foolish, dumb and confusing? Could this be the law that is an ass?
One can only hope that if they have these lingering doubts, they will perform their other duties as citizens, and strive to have the law struck down, and toil to get rid of the government that wrote such a shoddy piece of legislation.
If a businessman decides to open is shop on a Sunday, that is, or should be, his decision to make.
It is surely not a decision to be made by a government.
Some people defend the diso of Sunday business closures on religious grounds, saying it is in recognition of the day God took off after creating everything.
It should be noted that God did not name the day, merely mentioned it was the seventh day. He was meticulous in laying down the rules in other areas, so it would seem He was not overly concerned about which day man rested from his labours.
Perhaps He was in a rush to get out before the stores closed, and did not have a stone table handy for jotting down the name of the day of rest.
Perhaps it was His intention that people would take any one day off each week to acknowledge His presence and works.
Perhaps He felt it best to leave up to the individual.
God only knows.
What is known is men of different tribes and philosophies picked different days, some choosing Saturday, some Sunday, and others getting a head start on Friday night.
God has never kicked up a fuss about this. Not one city has been levelled (maybe Richmond has been levelled in the past, that would explain the topography of Richmond). No
stars, columns of smoke, talking burning bushes, stone tablets, of plagues have been sent along on any particular day. Not one Act of God has signalled the Day.
Just one act of the Socred government. Admittedly, they have claimed some connection on high, but it is hard to believe they are the messengers.
If God had been the author, the act would have been written is his typical blunt style, without exceptions, and nto subject to local referenda. He is noted for laying down the laws in universal fashion, without seeking approval of a majority of the people, chosen or otherwise. He rarely petitions council or cabinet.
If the Socreds had any flair for law-making, they could have achieved sanctity for and Holy Day being a day off with a simple regulation in the labour code, stating anyone could take off any religious Holy Day or statutory holiday without fear of disciplinary action from the employer.
That leaves the choice of "to work" or "to open a shop" to the conscience of the individual.
It would also have prevented a little thing from becoming a big non-issue.

Scanned from original newsprint or photocopies using OCR, Epson Perfection 2450 Photo scanner. © GE

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