Labour Day weekend is nearly upon us.
One of the most highly anticipated long weekends of the year, it’s one last summer hurrah for grownups and back-to-school kids alike. I’m sure you’ve all got something planned, whether it be last minute school supply shopping or one more summer weekend out of town. But how many of us have actually considered the origins of this national holiday?
Labour Day began in 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union’s strike against a 58-hour work week. At the time, union activity could still be charged with conspiring against the government, and 24 leaders of the union were arrested. On Sept. 3, labour leaders called another demonstration to protest the arrests.
In B.C., much of our province was still covered by woods in the 19th century. Hard-working people fell trees, constructed bridges, and erected buildings. Sadly, many lives were lost. Even though workplace standards have evolved a great deal, only recent generations of workers have seen the benefit of many workplace rights we’re accustomed to today. So aside from that last chance for everyone to soak up some summer, Labour Day long weekend is also an opportunity for us to take the time to recognize and thank the people who have made our province a better place to work and play.
Before Labour Day weekend I’d also like to let everyone know about the Salvation Army’s back-to-school campaign.
Every year the Salvation Army collects school supplies for families in need. Because of the economic downturn we’ve faced in recent years, the program’s demand has more than doubled. The Salvation Army assembles backpacks full of school supplies so that kids who need it most can start the year off right. Why not drop off some extra items in the midst of your family’s back-to-school shopping? Items can be dropped off at the Salvation Army food bank at 272 Borland St. It’s a really great program and I hope you’re able help out.
I hope everyone had a safe and exciting summer!
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.