A group of Ottawa residents fed up with ‘Merry Christmas’ being replaced by politically correct greetings took to Parliament Hill Saturday.
“When you tell me I can’t say Merry Christmas, you’re taking my Christ out of Christmas and you’re excluding me, so how about me?,” said resident Bruce Strickland, carrying a provocative sign depicting Santa Claus on a cross.
His daughter, Miranda, 13, attends Henry Munro Middle School where “we’re not allowed to say Merry Christmas. We have to say Happy Holidays,” she said.
But Ottawa Carleton District School Board spokeswoman Sharlene Hunter said “we do not have a policy regarding this.”
A recent Sun story about Cambridge Public School in Limoges, east of Ottawa, cancelling its Christmas concert — opting for an unnamed February event to ensure non-Christian students and their families don’t feel excluded — sparked outrage.
“It made me angry, it made us all angry that this is starting to happen,” said co-organizer Julie Bertrand.
“I mean, we don’t get offended when they celebrate whatever it is, seasons, holidays, that they celebrate. Why should they get offended when we celebrate our Christmas?”
Ottawa schools won’t be taking a lead from Cambridge P.S.
“Many, many Christmas concerts have taken place in our schools over the last few weeks and many more will take place this coming week,” said Hunter.
Catholic school board spokeswoman Mardi deKemp said “we have no restriction on the use of Merry Christmas,” adding the same goes for Christmas concerts, pageants and liturgies.
Regardless, you won’t hear Karrie Davis saying “Happy Holidays.”
“We’re not celebrating winter,” said Davis.
Saying Merry Christmas, she says, is very important to her.
“It’s always given me a wonderful, warm feeling inside. Everybody just loves everybody, it’s a happy time,” Davis said.
The group of about a dozen protesters wore red Santa hats and carried festive signs.
“My whole point is I want my grandchildren later on, in the future, to be able to freely say Merry Christmas,” said co-organizer Jennifer Strickland.
“I’m proud to be Catholic, and you know, we’re celebrating Jesus’ birthday.”
She was decked out with a glittery sign reading, I Will Not Stop Saying Merry Christmas.
“I don’t know what else to say except for Merry Christmas to everybody and I hope that you keep Christmas in your life, ’cause it’s a joy,” she said.
Meanwhile, a recent Abacus Data poll showed 76% of Canadians are more likely to say Merry Christmas than happy holidays or seasons greetings.