Bad idea to trot out Santa Claus before Remembrance Day

A Montreal shopping mall criticized for bringing out Santa an hour before ceremonies

A Montreal shopping mall has been criticized for its decision to trot out Santa Claus about an hour before ceremonies are held on Remembrance Day to honour Canada’s war dead.

Saint Nick will be at Place Versailles on Saturday morning — a move described by some social media users as a terrible lack of judgment.

Many called on the bearded one’s visit to be rescheduled but the mall responded by saying it isn’t logistically possible to have Santa come another day.

His elaborate entrance by helicopter has been promoted for several days.

“Rest assured that in no case did we want to ignore the memory of our veterans and all those who made the greatest sacrifices for our country,” the mall wrote in a statement this week.

“Unfortunately, logistical constraints beyond our control made the November 11th date the only time we could proceed with the arrival by helicopter.”

Management apologized in a Facebook post and said it will also mark Remembrance Day in some fashion.

“We apologize deeply to all those who were shocked by this choice of date,” the post said. “We will make the necessary arrangements to honour all those who served our country on November 11th.”

Kenneth R. Ouellet, president of the Quebec branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, described the mall’s decision to welcome Santa on Saturday as “regrettable” and said it is likely to offend veterans.

“We can’t do anything (to change) it, but there should be more education put out there as to the importance of the day and the hour and the why,” he said in a phone interview.

Ouellet said the mall should try to delay Santa’s arrival until the 11 a.m. Remembrance Day ceremonies conclude.

In the future, he’d also like Quebec to follow the lead of most other Canadian provinces and declare the day a statuory holiday.

— With files from Sidhartha Banerjee and Morgan Lowrie

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

Pedestrian struck in Maple Ridge

14-year-old girl hit on Burnett Street at Lougheed Highway

Tributes continue for Maple Ridge man killed in accident

Community takes to social media to express condolences for inspirational young man.

Friendship benches donated to two Maple Ridge schools

Benches promote empathy, friendship and self esteem at school

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau

Thousands were fired from the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation

Heavy rains, winds hit B.C.’s south coast

Localized flooding, gusts up to 70 km/hr expected for the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

High winds cancel slew of BC Ferries sailings

Travel to and from Victoria and Vancouver as well as Northern Gulf Islands affected

Most Read