Unless you work in the provincial government, or know someone who does, you were probably under the assumption that April 23 was just a regular, run of the mill Monday.
Perhaps you even decided to take the day to drive into Corner Brook to deal with some government business at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
If you did, you probably discovered that last Monday was in fact a government holiday. It was St. George’s Day.
Please don’t confuse the term “government holiday” with a provincial holiday. There is a big difference between the two.
For instance, Family Day is a provincial holiday in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan. If you live in any of those provinces, you get the third Monday in February off. It’s a statutory holiday.
Here in Newfoundland and Labrador, we don’t have any provincial holidays. But provincial workers do seem to get a lot of government holidays.
Now there’s nothing wrong with a holiday. Let’s be clear about this. We here at the paper are staunchly pro-holiday. The problem is when a certain sector of society just decides to take the day off without warning the rest of us.
To the government’s credit, there is a page on its website that lists all the holidays provincial workers are given in the run of a year. There are 14, to be exact. We here at The Gulf News get 10 holidays every year. But who’s counting?
The list of government holidays is very informative, but it’s not out front and centre. Unless you’re looking for it, you might not know it’s there. And if you don’t know it’s there, you might make the mistake of driving 200 kilometers to Corner Brook to deal with your drivers licence only to find the office locked up tight.
What the government could and should do is let us know when provincial workers will not be working. We would be more than happy to give the general public a week’s notice that provincial government offices will be closed. That might save you a costly and unnecessary trip to Corner Brook. -
There’s a simple solution to this whole matter. We seem to get no shortage of press releases from the provincial government telling us about all the great work it is doing. Sometimes we even print that information in the paper.
What the government could and should do is let us know when provincial workers will not be working. We would be more than happy to give the general public a week’s notice that provincial government offices will be closed. That might save you a costly and unnecessary trip to Corner Brook.
In the interest of being proactive, here are a few dates to mark on your calendar. Sunday, June 24 is Discovery Day. The provincial government will take that holiday on June 25 this year. Thursday, July 12 is Orangeman’s Day but most government workers will be celebrating it by not going to work on Monday, July 9.
If you need to get your drivers licence renewed or your vehicle registered, those are not good days to go. Ditto for other provincial government offices. But call and ask to be certain.
Another date worth noting is January 24, St. Francis de Sales Day. He is the patron saint of journalists and writers. We here at The Gulf News will celebrate his feast day next year by coming to work as usual.
Brodie Thomas is Editor of The Gulf News