Full interview with protester Linda Pettigrue
By Laine Sedore
Spreading some Christmas cheer seemed to be the talk of the town in Napanee on Wednesday.
Roughly 60 people showed up in front of the Tri-Board Student Transportation Services building to protest the boards decision to not allow bus drivers to decorate their buses with Christmas decorations. They sang Christmas carols and dressed a tree outside the building with garland and ornaments.
The Tri-Board believes having Christmas decorations on buses is a safety issue to children.
CEO of the Tri-Board Student Transportation Services, Steve Wowk, said it isn’t about Christmas it’s about the policy.
“This is not about Christmas this about seasonal decorations on school buses, Tri-Board has a policy, I enforce the policy simple as that. I believe in the safety of children,” he said.
Conservative MPP for Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, Randy Hillier, says this isn’t about policy it’s about Canadian traditions.
“We’ve seen this continuous and this relentless erosion and attack on those traditions that we hold dear,”he said. “Here we are at Christmas time and we have the Tri-Board school bus services saying that Christmas is banned,” he said.
Lorri Tannahill from Marmora says she has a hard time believing it’s a safety issue.
“I drove a bus for many years, we had contests to see who could decorate their bus the best, and we’ve never had an injury and if a driver wearing a Santa hat is a danger to a child I’d like to know how that is,” she said.
Tannahill says the Tri-Board isn’t giving the real reason behind the ban.
“We’re just really disappointed that the board has decided to take Christmas off the buses and doesn’t have the backbone to give the real reason that they’re trying to be politically correct, and trying to claim that for all these years bus drivers have endangered their children by putting decorations on the bus,” she said.
Tannahill isn’t the only one who feels the ban isn’t about safety. Napanee resident Linda Pettigrue says we need to keep Canadian traditions alive.
“Keep our Canadian traditions alive, I really feel that there’s some other religious groups that are coming into Canada that are dictating how we can celebrate our Christmases and it’s wrong,” she said. (For full interview see audio at top)
Pastor of the Standard Wesleyan Church in Napanee, Ivan Langdon, says Candians should stand up for the beliefs the country was founded upon.
“This country was founded on Christian beliefs and we should continue to have a right and many other religions have come into this country and trying to change the way we look at things and we need to stand up for our beliefs,” he said.
Randy Hillier has started up a petition to try and change the Tri-Boards decisions. So far more than 1,000 people have signed. Tri-Board continues to stand by its decision to not allow seasonal decorations on buses and won’t be changing the rules anytime soon.