EDITORIAL: Yes, Ben Isitt, there is a Santa Claus

It’s not often that a politician finds themself in hot water for trying to save their constituents money, but Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt has found himself in just such exclusive company.

Isitt stirred up a holiday hornet’s nest with his suggestion the City of Victoria look at trimming back on its Christmas decorations.

READ ALSO: Victoria councillor responds to Christmas decoration backlash

The city spends about $90,000 on seasonal decorations each year, which includes downtown decorations at Christmas and Chinese New Year. Isitt said a line-by-line review of the city budget led him to question the appropriate level of public funding for decorations. The suggestion went over as well as a Christmas Eve visit by the Grinch.

“Political correctness at it’s (sic) best,” read a Facebook comment by Stephen Fortner that seemed to sum up the mood of the vast majority. “Christmas is a Canadian tradition and keep your hands off of it.”

In an interview with Black Press, Isitt said tax dollars should not go to religious symbols. He said he didn’t have a problem with decorations at Chinese New Year because it relates to a “cultural group rather than a religious act.”

READ ALSO: City of Victoria considers scrapping funds for Christmas decorations

While Isitt’s determination to protect the public purse is commendable, his reasoning couldn’t be more misguided. Victoria spends $200,000 a year on flower baskets every year, and the festive light displays over the holidays are just as welcome a sight to tourists and locals alike. The bill for $90,000 should be considered money well spent.

READ ALSO: Reader response

And some could argue that holiday lights have become more of a cultural symbol than any tribute to Christianity. There are no biblical references to strings of lights or inflatable reindeer, the Christmas tree is actually derived from a pagan ritual and Santa Claus himself pays homage to consumerism, not religion, being a product of the advertising minds behind Coca Cola.

So yes, Ben Isitt, there is a Santa Claus. And Victoria residents are quite prepared to see their hard-earned tax dollars go towards celebrating his pending arrival.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore Rotary Club raises $20,000 with Golf Ball Drop fundraiser

Nearly 4,000 golf balls poured onto Olympic View golf course Saturday

Construction slows weekend traffic at Millstream overpass

West Shore RCMP recommend Leigh Road exit instead

TRAFFIC: Saanich emergency crews responding to Pat Bay Highway collision

Incident took place at Haliburton Road intersection

Saanich race car driver shifts gears as pandemic cuts U.S. season short

Bill Okell, 65, sets sights on Canadian racing circuit for 2020

Chorus expands online options to in-person rehearsal in Langford, Oak Bay

Free, non-auditioned SingYourJoy recruits those aged 16 to 29

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read