The St. John Ambulance therapy dogs were a big hit with the children at the City of Courtenay Canada Day Parade. Photo by Terry Farrell

Editorial: Take the politicking out of parades

Remember when parades were all about the children?

Floats and clowns, animals and dancers, suckers and bubble gum and marching bands.

Not so much, anymore.

The Courtenay Canada Day Parade was somewhat underwhelming this year, particularly for the kids.

There was one band.

Other than “Captain Canada” – the fellow on stilts that always makes the children smile – there were very few parade-like characters involved. We spotted some clowns at the bottom end of Fifth Street, but they did not cover the parade route.

The St. John Ambulance therapy dogs were the only animals involved.

There were some great community floats – L’Arche Comox Valley, Habitat For Humanity, and the Marine Search and Rescue entries come to mind.

It was good to see youth entries, such as the Comox Valley Youth Music Centre, the Rainbow Youth Theatre, and Axé Capoeira participate. That said, there was an underlying theme of politicking at this Canada Day Parade, and it’s a trend that seems to be growing.

Naturally, our elected officials should be in our local parades. But when candidates for upcoming federal elections, or local political hotbed organizations, are allowed to use a parade as a platform for their agendas, it takes away from the spirit of the affair.

Are there any children out there concerned with who is running in the next federal election?

We think not.

Are there any toddlers in the Comox Valley who have an opinion about the future of Shakesides?

We doubt it.

Allowing such groups to “shake hands and kiss babies” in something like a Canada Day Parade does little to draw excitement to the event.

Certainly, national parades have become agenda driven. It’s a shame to see that filter down to the community level.

Bring back the animals.

Bring back the horse-drawn wagons, with the street cleaners coming up behind them; drivers jokingly wearing noseplugs or gas masks to cover the smell.

Bring back the clowns, and the music.

Put the fun back into parades, and for a change, leave the politicking at home.

The kids will appreciate it. Most adults will, too.

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