Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
One thing all Politicians love is parades with lots of fanfare, even better, is when Politicians are allowed to ride on top of the floats as they frantically compete with each other in the "Royal wave contests" to see who can outdo each other. A Toronto town believing a CHristmas Parade is for the Kids to see Santa has requested Politicians not attend the annual Christmas parade as featured guests on it's floats, this, much to many politicians dismay of not being seen by their adoring Public. Who Politicians mistakenly believe the Public flock to see them and not Santa.
My Final Thought
Perhaps, a speacial parade complete with floats could be set up in February featuring only Politicians, this way Politicians of all Parties can view their adoring throngs along the deserted streets of their chosen town.
Allison Hanes, National Post
Published: Friday, November 23, 2007
A suburban Toronto town's move to exclude politicians from its annual Santa Claus parade has been criticized for politicizing the popular event, which will take place this Sunday minus the usual carloads of waving elected officials.
Only the Mayor of Milton has been asked to participate this year after the organizing committee decided not to invite the federal Member of Parliament, member of the provincial legislature or regional council chair -- all of whom have been regulars in the past.
But HaltonMPGarthTurner has taken offence at being told he cannot take part -- even after he offered to walk rather than ride in a vehicle.
"My goodness, it's Christmas, after all. We've got to get a grip here," he said in an interview yesterday. "I mean, surely Santa Claus can tolerate me."
Mike Ricker, the secretary-treasurer of the Santa Claus parade committee, explained that to trim the length of the ever-expanding procession, a majority of organizers voted to cut the politicians from the lineup.
"Yes, it's nice for them [the politicians] to see the people and wave to the people, but would young children at the parade really rather look at a band or a float or a clown or would they rather look at a politician just going by in a car?" he said.
"We had a look at things and said, 'What is there in the parade that really doesn't have a connotation or a feeling of Christmas and Santa Claus and everything a Santa Claus parade is supposed to be?' "
Mr. Turner suspects something more sinister is at play and has accused the organizers of partisanship. He has also vowed to show up and walk his dog along the route.
"It seems like a needless controversy and if I take up too damn much space, I'll walk. There's obviously another agenda," said Mr. Turner, a former Conservative who crossed the floor to the Liberals.
Mr. Turner said he believes whenever there is an event where thousands in the community show up, elected politicians should be on hand to interact with the people they represent.
"Our job is not to go away and hide in Ottawa," he said, adding he will now host an open house at his constituency office along the parade route. "What are we ashamed of ? I think there's nothing wrong with kids seeing who is the provincial member and the regional member and the federal member; I don't think that's a bad thing."
Other politicians also complained about the decision to omit them from an annual tradition they have much enjoyed, but said they will not resort to crashing the parade.
"I'm disappointed with it," said Conservative MPP for Halton Ted Chudleigh. "I thought it was a very strange decision that politicians were excluded but the Mayor was kept in ... I'm certainly not going to walk the parade with my dog. I'm respectful of other people."
Mr. Chudleigh said he may attend the event as a spectator on the sidewalk with his family, including his grandchildren, who usually attend to watch him go by.
Mr. Ricker said Mr. Turner's angry reaction has transformed efforts to make the parade more fun into a full-blown political flap.