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British Columbia B.C. Liberals want residents to pick new February holiday

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark in Port Moody, B.C., on Thursday April 19, 2012.

Darryl Dyck For The Globe and Mail/darryl dyck The Globe and Mail

British Columbians are being asked to help pick the best day for a new statutory holiday.

Premier Christy Clark's Liberals introduced legislation Tuesday to declare a Family Day holiday starting next February, but they want to know what day of the month works best.

Clark promised a Family Day holiday during her Liberal Party leadership campaign. She said B.C. families deserve a break during the long stretch from New Year's Day to Easter.

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She acknowledged that some businesses may have concerns about another paid day off for workers, but suggested the holiday could pay off economically and socially.

"Think about ski hills and tourist destinations," Clark said. "Think about restaurants and hotels on Family Day. People will use it to take their family out and do things. That's the purpose of it."

Labour Minister Margaret MacDiarmid announced a two-week social media campaign to help choose the day. The decision on what day becomes the official holiday will be made at the end of the month, she said.

MacDiarmid said some appear to favour the second Monday in February, suggesting it allows British Columbians to enjoy ski hills and other local attractions without facing traffic from conflicting long weekends.

The third Monday in February is Presidents Day in the United States and Family Day in Alberta, and B.C. has always been a favourite long-weekend getaway for people from outside of the province, MacDiarmid said.

"We're really keen to hear why people would prefer one of these two days over the other," said MacDiarmid at a press conference at the Royal B.C. Museum.

Family Day gives British Columbians 10 statutory holidays each year.

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British Columbians can share their thoughts on what day they want the holiday to fall on by visiting a provincial government blog, Facebook or Twitter.

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