Yukoners voice support for making National Aboriginal Day a holiday

Many Yukoners say they'll happily support any plan to give them another paid holiday. Yukon MLAs are in favour of making National Aboriginal Day a holiday, but they first want to consult citizens and business owners.

'A fantastic idea and I'm all for it,' says one downtown merchant

'I think it's probably long overdue,' said Chris Sorg, who owns several downtown Whitehorse businesses, including Mac's Fireweed Books and Murdoch's Gem Shop. (CBC)

Who would say no to another paid holiday? Not many Yukoners, it seems.

The territory's MLAs voted this week in support of making National Aboriginal Day (June 21) a statutory holiday, but first they want to consult with Yukoners.

CBC took to the street in downtown Whitehorse to consult with some pedestrians and a couple of business owners, and found unanimous support.
'Any day off is a good day,' said this Whitehorse pedestrian. (CBC)

"Any day off is a good day," said one man. "And any day that people can get together and celebrate a good cause, then that's what we need."

"An awesome idea," said another woman. "It gives everybody a chance to share their culture and enjoy the celebrations."

Some business owners 'all for it'

The Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce has not stated its position on what could be a big cost to some business owners — a day of lost productivity, or paying overtime. The chamber says it's polling its members to see how they feel.

But Chris Sorg, who own several downtown retail businesses, had no problem offering his take. 

"I think it's a fantastic idea and I'm all for it," Sorg said. "I think it's probably long overdue, and I think it's another step in an evolutionary process which is gradually providing recognition to the First Peoples."
'Of course there's an impact,' said Whitehorse businessman Antonio Zedda, who owns Baked Cafe. Still, he says he's in favour of the holiday. (CBC)

Antonio Zedda, who owns an architecture firm and a downtown bakery, agrees.

"Of course there's an impact," Zedda said. "As a business owner, yeah, there's additional costs, but you know what? It's something we should have acknowledged a long time ago."