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

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

VIDEO: ‘I won’t stop’ – local surfer hits the stormy seas of Stories Beach in Campbell River

Surfing community is growing in Campbell River, says Scotty Hewett

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

Duffy’s lawsuit sought more than $7.8 million from the upper chamber

Language on Sikh extremism in report will be reviewed, Goodale says

A public-safety ministry document indicats terrorist threats to Canada included a section on Sikh extremism for the first time

Questions raised over retailers who shame shoplifters with photos

Alleged theft from a sex shop in Newfoundland led to posts on social media

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Most Read