London

Politicians vote to restrict parades leading up to Remembrance Day

During Tuesday's Community and Protective Services Committee, Coun. Shawn Lewis introduced a motion to restrict parade permits on public streets from Nov. 1 - 11. 

Traditionally, the London Santa Claus Parade has been held prior to November 11

London's Santa Claus Parade shown here in 2015. Politicians are looking to restrict parade permits on public streets from Nov. 1 - 11 to prevent them from overshadowing Remembrance Day. (Harold Merton/Flickr)

The annual London Santa Claus Parade may be officially moved to a date after Remembrance Day. 

During Tuesday's Community and Protective Services Committee, Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis introduced a motion to restrict parade permits on public streets from Nov. 1 - 11. 

"As a member of the Royal Canadian Legion myself, I think it is important that Remembrance Day and the lead up to it have a public focus on our veterans and the sacrifices they have made for us," Lewis wrote in a letter addressed to the committee, of which he is chair. 

Traditionally, the London Santa Claus Parade takes place the second Saturday of November, which often falls before Remembrance Day, much to the chagrin of veterans.

While Lewis recognized that organizers of the annual parade assured that the scheduling would be different going forward, the councillor wants to ensure the issue doesn't arise in the future. 

"As time goes on, people retire from organizing events, other people take over, councils change, mayors change, and I think it's just a good idea to formalize it in our procedures and policies with respect for our veterans," he told committee.  

The motion passed 4-1.

"It seems like a simple solution," said Ward 1 Coun. Michael Van Holst, who supported the motion. "[It's] surprising that someone hasn't thought of it before." 

Ward 3 Coun. Mo Salih voted against the decision. 

"Me personally, I'm supportive [of the motion], ... but I'm struggling on restricting people from choosing to make their own decisions," he said. 

"Many of those people who have served, served to ensure people can make whichever decisions they want to make and do what they want to do on certain days, but I recognize where this is coming from," he added.

Lewis said that procedurally, this is the only way to address the issue.

The decision will still need approval from city council.

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