Crummell says MHA has his facts wrong on Santa Claus Parade issue
Liberal MHA Tom Osborne accused Premier Kathy Dunderdale of ruining Christmas Tuesday afternoon. He said that by preventing vehicle inspectors from volunteering on the St. John’s Santa Claus Parade, the government will keep Kris Kringle from coming to town.
“I ask the premier: is your government really going to prevent inspectors from volunteering their time to ensure that children have a Santa Claus parade?” Osborne said. “I thought the Grinch was only imaginary.”
But outside of the House of Assembly, Service NL Minister Dan Crummell said ho, ho, hold on, Osborne, you’ve got your facts wrong. The Santa Claus parade will still go ahead, and the holly, jolly good cheer won’t be affected by government policy in the Highway Enforcement division.
For starters, Crummell said that highway enforcement inspectors weren’t working as free volunteers — they were getting paid overtime by the government. But more importantly, Crummell said, the inspectors aren’t needed for the parade to go ahead.
In recent years, Downtown St. John’s — which organizes the parade every year — has asked government inspectors to come down and inspect the hitches on floats to make sure that everything is safe.
Crummell said the St. John’s parade was the only event in the province that got government inspectors.
“There’s parades all over the place across this province, and the resources that are available to do an inspection of that magnitude is the issue,” he said.
Crummell said that whether you’re towing a flatbed trailer with a gingerbread house and a candy cane forest or anything else, it’s your own responsibility to do it safely.
Regardless, Osborne said, if the government has been doing the service in recent years, it should keep doing it.
“The sidewalks are lined for miles with people looking at the Santa Claus parade; (the floats) should be inspected,” he said. “This is certainly the largest parade in the province; they have been inspecting this and now they’re going to stop? It just doesn’t seem right.”
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,” she said.
“Santa will be here; the show will go on.”
The St. John’s Santa Claus Parade is scheduled for Nov. 24.