Sunday, February 17, 2008

Happy Family Day

As a measure to combat the winter BLAH’s while fulfilling an election promise, the government of my lovely province of Ontario has introduced a new holiday. It’s called Family Day, to be celebrated the third Monday of February from now ‘til… the next government comes to power… who knows?

When my brother and sister told me about this pseudo-holiday, I thought they were joking. I’d never heard of it. Then I started noticing the tell-tale signs: Monday February 18th, the banks are closed, public transit is operating on Saturday schedule, the 24-hour grocery store is only open from 7am-11pm. So the rumours are true!

Having solved the mystery of whether Family Day really exists, I have to ask: Who the hell thought up this ridiculous idea? Somebody with a family, no doubt. Or, more cynically (and thus more realistically), somebody who was looking to win the votes of somebody with a family.

I suppose I find this whole idea so grating because it doesn’t seem to be for people like me. I’m speaking on two levels, here:

Firstly, I don’t have a family, nor am I likely ever to have one. Sure, I have a great relationship with my family of origin, and I’m not taking that fact for granted, but when I think “Family Day,” the image I get is of mommy, daddy, two point five kids, and Rover fenced in by white pickets. In my mind, this holiday honours hegemony.

Secondly, I’m considering what class of citizen actually gets to spend this holiday with her or his family. Banks are closed. Grocery stores are open. You do the math. Our government calls Family Day, “a holiday for hard-working families.” I guess wage-earners employed in retail or similar aren’t considered all that industrious.