OTTAWA – The House of Commons has passed legislation giving Remembrance Day the same legal status as Canada Day and Victoria Day.
It is mainly a symbolic move, as the Commons can’t make Nov. 11 a statutory holiday across the country, because that is a matter for the provinces.
Currently, Remembrance Day is a holiday in all provinces and territories except for Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Federal employees also get the day off.
The legislation, introduced by Nova Scotia Liberal MP Colin Fraser, followed a number of failed efforts to single out Remembrance Day.
One problem is that the Royal Canadian Legion has worried that making Nov. 11 a legal holiday would change people’s attitudes and they might not bother making the effort to attend local ceremonies.
In debate this week, Fraser said his bill would affirm Parliament’s commitment to Nov. 11 as a solemn day of remembrance.
“I believe it is important for us as parliamentarians to shine a light on the significance of this day and state clearly why it is unique and deserving of prominence,” he said.
The bill passed by a 205-36 margin, with most of the opposition coming from the Conservative benches.