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Sunday shopping proponent planning appeal to province

By: Dave Baxter

Posted: 08/6/2019 9:40 AM

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A long-time proponent of bringing Sunday shopping to Steinbach says he has not given up his fight to see local businesses have the power to set their own hours of business in the city.

Businessman, lawyer and former city councillor David Banman said this week he intends to take his fight for Sunday shopping in Steinbach to the province of Manitoba, because he hasn’t seen a lot of support from Steinbach city council on the issue.

"Council I don’t really think was ready for it, or ready or willing to listen to the argument," Banman said about his most recent attempt to engage Steinbach councillors on the issue. "So I think that issue and that route for me is kind of dead.

"But once the election is over I am planning on speaking to the provincial government about the laws, because I know there has been a lot of talk about those provincial laws being antiquated and frankly it is so far out of date that it does need to be revamped, and this may be a perfect time to look at that."

Banman said that after years of pushing for Sunday shopping in Steinbach he continues to pursue it, because he believes both consumers and businesses should have more rights and more ability to make their own decisions.

"The main thing is just giving that choice to consumers," Banman said. "The number one thing people talk to me about is just having access to grocery stores and basic staples on Sunday."

"It’s also about freedom for these businesses, as they should have the right to set their own hours."

Banman said he did an informal survey of Steinbach residents and businesses earlier this year and found the results were often based on the age of the people he surveyed.

"What I am seeing is a generational divide on this, and for some of the people 50 and over it seems they are just really resistant to change, and that is why it can be hard to convince them otherwise."

While Banman fights for Sunday shopping another Steinbach resident said she is fighting to make sure Sunday shopping does not come to Steinbach.

Joy Reimer of Steinbach said that her opposition to Sunday shopping is based on her own religious beliefs, but also on wanting a day where residents can focus on family and on rest.

"Our Bible says to celebrate the Sabbath as a day of rest," Reimer said. "It should be a day for families and for people to be together, and Sunday shopping would change all of that."

Reimer said she recently walked up and down Main Street asking local businesses their views on Sunday shopping and she said she saw a lot of support from businesses that agreed with her on the issue.

Although it does not appear that Sunday shopping will come to Steinbach in the near future, Reimer said she is still concerned because it is something she does not ever want to see in the city.

"I’m worried about those big businesses like Walmart and that, they have a lot of power and we don’t know what they are doing behind closed doors," she said. "It’s something where we need to stay focused because if we don’t then one day it will come and then there will be nothing we can do about it."

Reimer said she plans to talk to Steinbach city councillors about her opposition to Sunday shopping in the coming weeks and months.

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