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Gander council aiming to ban Christmas advertising until after Nov. 11

Poppies
Poppies

GANDER, NL — Moving forward with its goal of implementing restrictions that would prevent commercial Christmas advertising until after Remembrance Day, as a sign of respect to veterans, Gander council sent a letter to the Office of the Prime Minister.

The idea took root during a Nov. 9, 2016,  meeting of council, when Mayor Claude Elliott raised the issue.

During the meeting, council voted unanimously to keep Christmas advertising out of area stores.

Elliott has since said that remembrance of the military – past, present and future – is paramount in November and that promoting upcoming holidays leading up to Remembrance Day can be distracting.

 

The idea took root during a Nov. 9, 2016,  meeting of council, when Mayor Claude Elliott raised the issue.

During the meeting, council voted unanimously to keep Christmas advertising out of area stores.

Elliott has since said that remembrance of the military – past, present and future – is paramount in November and that promoting upcoming holidays leading up to Remembrance Day can be distracting.

 

Gander Mayor Claude Elliott

“If you held off on Christmas advertising until Nov. 12, that’s still more than 40 days, which I believe is more than sufficient time to get ready for Christmas,” he said.

Instead of stocking the shelves with Christmas items, Elliott is suggesting businesses find ways, such as promotions or fundraisers, which focus on the country’s armed forces.

While the motion has passed, it’s not something the town is able to enforce. The mayor says it’s something that still requires a lot of dialogue between the town and the business community.

“We have to all work together, because if we’re not all on the same page, it’s not going to work,” he said.

 

Prime minister

To try to enact change in Gander and the country, the town presented its concerns to Ottawa by writing Prime Minister Justin Treadeau.

The letter, according to Elliott, asked government to establish a longer period of time in November to honour the Canadian Armed Forces, and to look into measures that would prevent Christmas advertising until after Nov. 11.

In response, council was informed, on behalf of the prime minister, that this matter doesn’t fall under federal jurisdiction and advertising is guided by the industry itself. It was recommended council follow up with Advertising Standards Canada.

“I was a little bit disappointed with the prime minister’s response,” said Elliott. “I thought that he would at least say thank you for what you’re trying to do for the military, because regardless, the prime minister is still the commander and chief.”

He said council will continue to pursue the matter.

“We will write (Advertising Standards Canada), asking them if they would work with us,” said Elliott. “There’s a lot of dialogue that needs to take place, and we aren’t here to tell people how to run their businesses, but I believe there’s room to show a little more compassion for those who served.”

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