There is "trouble in river city" (New Westminster on the Fraser). We are proud of our history, local culture and traditions, being the Royal City. We are one of the few communities that still do a complete May Day week, and it means a lot to the children who come up through our system of the local school board. (I did.)
As New Westminster kids, we celebrated by going to the Anvil Battery salute on Victoria Day, being in Queen's Park mid-week to crown the May Queen, and dance the maypole. Then we attended the evening banquet where there is a dinner, speeches, and the highlight with the Lancer group performing for the crowd the old English parlour dance forms with the May Queen suite before an enthusiastic audience. These very old performances have been kept alive by the city fathers, passing on a tradition for over 100 years. The Saturday parade makes it a fun week. We have many American guests that participate in our week-long festivities and march in our parade.
But my my, we now have a new city council, and they have capriciously decided, without consultation, to summarily dismiss the Lancers group from any participation. This volunteer group of 16 men has had some very distinguished members down through the years, with former city councillors, former mayor, school board members and other prominent community leaders participating. When I retired from Parliament, I was honoured to be allowed to join the group to support our local culture and the 100-plus-year-old old performance.
The new city council has just gone stupid.
The Lancers are appealing to former May Queens, and all the families that have been involved down through the years, to defend our city culture, and pressure city council to reinstate the tradition of the Lancer-May Queen suite performance at the May Day banquet.
I hope residents will feel the indignation that I feel, and contact the councillors to reverse this mistake by New Westminster city council.
Paul Forseth, former MP