Sask. business responds to Brett Wilson's Christmas-Remembrance Day debate

A Carnduff, Sask. business owner is rolling out his Christmas sales and he doesn't think it's disrespectful to do so before Remembrance Day.

Wilson says putting up Christmas decorations and holding sales is disrespectful to veterans

Canadian shoppers expected to shop closer to home due to weak loonie (CBC)

A Carnduff, Sask. business owner is rolling out his Christmas sales and decorations this week. For Brian Cowie, it's not disrespectful to do so before Remembrance Day.

Earlier this week, Saskatchewan-born entrepreneur W. Brett Wilson called on businesses to hold off putting up Christmas decorations until after Remembrance Day on Nov. 11. 

"We're not looking to shut down the commerce of our nation," Wilson said. "I'm not the Grinch who delayed Christmas. I'm just saying we need to raise the conversation. I just find it so disrespectful that we have trouble getting people's attention." 

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Wilson said he's reached more than a million people through social media. While he doesn't have a problem with selling Christmas goods, Wilson argues it dominates the conversation.

Brian Cowie owns a electronics store in Carnduff, which is about 90 kilometres east of Estevan. In an open letter to Wilson, Cowie wrote "it is important to follow consumer demands and public opinion in order to remain relevant and competitive."

On Nov. 6, Cowie and other businesses in the community are holding a Country Christmas kickoff event, which includes events for kids as well as late-night shopping in the town.

"In my small community, retailers are grappling with the decision," Cowie wrote. "This decision has generated debate even at home with my wife, whose late father was a veteran of World War II being opposed to this decision."

Cowie said he didn't make the decision lightly and it's been debated for several years. He doesn't believe Wilson's assessment is fair, but he understands wanting to show respect for veterans.

With the rise of online shopping and the town close proximity to the United States, Cowie said it's important for his community's businesses to start the Christmas sales season early. Cowie also said it's important for people to remember and honour veterans every day.

"Personally, I remember each and every time I proudly say my middle name Grey, a legacy from my great uncle Andrew Grey Cowie, who fell in France in 1917 and is buried there," he wrote. "When I turn the Christmas music on and begin to decorate before Remembrance Day, please understand and know that I remember."

Cowie said his store will be closed on Remembrance Day and that he will "privately and silently walk to our local cenotaph."


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