Pamela Courtenay-Hall, a professor of philosophy at the University of PEI, has a well-worded op-ed piece in today’s Guardian about Sunday shopping. She writes, in part:
Further, to construe ‘individual liberty’ as being primarily about ‘consumer choice’ is to misconceive the fundamental role of individuals in a society. It is not to consume or to own stores. It is to build a good life in community with others.
It’s nice to see this issue discussed outside of the usual narrow commercial slash religious context.
Another take on the removal of Sunday shopping in the Charlottetown context was that the Sunday Flea Market at the Charlottetown Mall had to find a permanent new home. While Flea Markets aren’t pretty (compared to say a more fashionable farmer’s market) they can represent an opportunity for some items to be re-used and an opportunity for arts and crafts to be sold.
Pamela’s piece is one of the best on the subject — The CBC had a recent story about how the big box stores were not going to take the Province to Court if they retained the current law which allows stores to be open from May thru December but then had to close on in Jan-April and the spokesperson kept referring to Islanders as customers and consumers and NOT as citizens or community members. It was disappointing that the CBC reporter kept referring that there was a demand from the majority of Islanders that the stores remain open Sundays year round and that a Provincial Legislative Committee also made that recommendation. In Nova Scotia, they had a plebiscite on Sunday shopping where the majority of Nova Scotians voted to retain Sunday closures and had a law which only allowed small stores to open which was used by large operators by dividing up their stores into smaller units and then opposed law in court to get rid of it and N.S. Gov’t backed down — am sure that the majority of Islanders are not in favour of year round Sunday shopping. Also, since the law has come into effect and after talking to many workers who have to work on Sunday, many of them would have liked to exercise their right to refuse to work Sundays but have found that it was hard to do so and that family time has been compromised. New workers hired in any workplace do not even have that right. Someone suggested to me that some European jurisdictions have laws which state that the (large?) stores can open six days a week (any six days a week!) but had to be closed on the seventh day. That sounds like an interesting law to enact.