Santa Claus floats to go uninspected in St. John's parade
Minister Dan Crummell confirms no more safety checks for city event
The Newfoundland and Labrador government says it will no longer inspect floats entered in the St. John's Santa Claus Parade.
That has the Liberal Opposition calling the minister in question a Grinch.
"These inspections were being done on an overtime basis," Service NL Minister Dan Crummell said outside the house of assembly on Tuesday.
"They were not on a volunteer basis."
Crummell made no bones about the fact that the change is at least partly due to cost.
He said if the government was to continue inspecting floats in the St. John's Christmas parade, it would have to do the same across the province.
"This was (only) done for the St. John's Santa Claus parade. There are parades all over the province, of course. Our resources are what they are."
St. John's South Liberal MHA Tom Osborne said ending inspections at an event that draws thousands of people — many of them children — is a step back for safety.
"I mean, it does put a Grinch-like feel to government. This is a Christmas parade," he said,
"You know, this is important ... not only for the thousands of people that line the streets to attend, but for the safety of the thousands of people that line the streets to attend."
Crummell, meanwhile, said the floats are no different than other private vehicles, adding it's the owners' responsibility to ensure they're safe to be on a road.
"We do inspections on vehicles all the time. The bottom line again is that there are parades all over the place across the province, and the resources are not available to do an inspection of that magnitude."
Osborne said an exception should continue to be made for the St. John's parade, given the sheer numbers of people and floats involved.
"This is certainly the largest parade in the province. They have been inspecting this, and now they're going to stop it. It just doesn't seem right."
A spokesperson for St. John's Downtown Development Commission said staff are trying to fill the void.
He said they're looking for inspectors now, adding he's confident nothing will stop Santa Claus from coming to town.
This year's St. John's Santa Claus Parade is set for Nov. 24.