Liberal MHA Tom Osborne says the government is threatening to ruin Christmas, but Service NL Minister Dan Crummell said he’s not doing anything to prevent the holly, jolly good cheer from coming to St. John’s.
Osborne said that the government’s decision to eliminate vehicle inspections on St. John’s Santa Claus Parade floats is threatening to cancel the parade altogether.
Osborne accused Premier Kathy Dunderdale of being a grinch during question period in the House of Assembly.
During question period, Crummell said he didn’t know what Osborne was talking about. But a few minutes later, he came out to tell reporters reporters that he’s not doing anything to prevent candy canes from being thrown to little kids lined up along Water Street.
Crummell said that Osborne has his facts wrong; for one thing, he said, the Service NL inspectors were only looking at the trailer hitches on the parade floats.
For another thing, Crummell said, St. John’s is the only Santa Claus Parade in the province that has had vehicle inspectors in the past, and that hasn’t stopped Kris Kringle from visiting any other town in the province.
Osborne said that the inspectors were working as volunteers, but Crummell said that actually they were working overtime — at the government’s expense, to inspect the vehicles.
He said it’s the responsibility of every driver to make sure that when they’re towing something, they need to hook it up safely, and that goes for the same if you’re pulling a candy cane and gingerbread house on the back of a flatbed trailer.
Gaylynne Lambert, marketing and events co-ordinator for Downtown St. John’s, which organizes the parade, said that nothing is going to stop the festive cheer and holiday floats from making their way down Water Street this year.
She said that the inspections that the government has been doing for the past decade or so weren’t mandatory — they were simply done at the request of the parade organizers to ensure maximum safety.
Lambert said the parade organizers may have to pay out of pocket for somebody else to do it, but they’ll still make sure somebody looks over the floats and makes sure that they’re hitched up safely before they go out on the route.
"We will never disappoint the children of St. John’s and the surrounding area," Lambert said. "Santa will be here; the show will go on."