Forget letters to Santa! London students write to police on-duty Christmas Day

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London police officers received an unusual gift Christmas day when they arrived for duty: Handwritten letter of appreciation penned by students from London’s École Secondaire Monseigneur-Bruyère. 

Two grade seven classes wrote 100 letters to every officer working to keep the city safe rather than enjoying the festivities with their own families.  

Grade 7 teacher, Jennifer Miller, had her students write letters to London police officers working Christmas Day (submitted)

« It was all inspired by my father, » said Jennifer Miller, who teaches English to the students. « He’s a retired police officer and he loves Christmas. »

He’d told his daughter about his Christmas shifts in London being quiet and sometimes lonely.  

« When you get a difficult call it’s made more difficult because you’re away from your family, » Miller recalled her father telling her.  

She asked her dad this year to write an initial letter to students telling them about the ups and downs of policing. In the end, it kick-started the Christmas Day letter writing campaign. 

Old school approach

« They were right on board, » said Miller. « Some students even wrote four letters. »

Some of the students have parents who are officers. One wrote a letter to her grandfather. All of the letters are personally addressed and hand-written with messages of thanks

I realize how hard it must be to work while everyone else is celebrating.– Lina, École Secondaire Monseigneur-Bruyère student

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« We went old school! I told them no computers, » said Miller. 

« Some people might rob toy stores like in Home Alone. So I wanted to say thank you.– Gillian, École Secondaire Monseigneur-Bruyère student

Miller said most of the students have never interacted with police, unless they are a family member. Some students have had difficult experiences with police officers.

« So this is also a nice way to see police officers in a positive light. That they’re helpful and we should be thankful for them even though they sometimes do things that at times may seem difficult to swallow. »

About 100 letters were written by students to London police officers to brighten their spirits while they work on Christmas Day.

The school’s resource officer was able to get the names of all of people scheduled to work Christmas Day, both day and night shifts.  

Miller said, the students are probably the most excited. 

« Some of them just think that police officers are heroes and now they feel a little bit like a hero too. »

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Dear Justin: Alberta oil town delivers 6,800 letters for Trudeau

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A delegation from Drayton Valley braved freezing rain Monday to deliver bags of letters addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Alberta legislature.

The group collected 6,800 letters in five days they hope will highlight the impact low oil prices have had on their central Alberta town. They met with Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd and asked her to send the letters to Ottawa.

« We just want Canadians to understand the fight we’re in to feed our families, » organizer Tim Cameron said.

Cameron, a project manager and life-long Drayton Valley resident, was joined by several business owners. They walked up the stairs of the legislature clutching clear plastic bags filled with letters addressed to the prime minister.

They were joined by Mark Smith, the UCP MLA for Drayton Valley-Devon, and someone dressed as the title character from the Dr. Seuss story How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Tim Cameron and Shari Macpherson carried bags of letters up the stairs of the Alberta legislature Monday. (CBC)

Drayton Valley is home to many companies that service the oil and gas industry. Cameron said the oil price crunch has hurt businesses and turned the town of about 7,000 into a ghost town in the evenings.

Cameron was one of the organizers of a pro-pipeline rally in Drayton Valley last week that attracted 1,300 people. He said people want the government to take action right now, not kick the problem down the road.

« Start a project. Start any project. We’re not fussy at this point in time, » Cameron said. « I mean, we’ve got people that are aren’t paying their bills right now. We’ve got homes being foreclosed upon. »

Shari MacPherson is the president of Ariant Holdings, an oilfield services company that has operated for 30 years. She said her company used to have 19 employees. Now it has three.

« This was a business I was hoping to leave to my children, » she said. « There isn’t much hope for them. »

McCuaig-Boyd said she was sympathetic to the concerns raised by the Drayton Valley delegation during their meeting.

« I absolutely stand with these folks, » she said. « We’re all frustrated and we really need the feds to step up with action and less words. »

McCuaig-Boyd committed to getting the message, and the letters, to Ottawa.

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Canada Post to parents: despite rotating strikes, keep sending letters to Santa – National

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With the holidays arriving, Canada Post is feeling the pressure from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and parents to resolve the ongoing labour dispute in time for an important holiday tradition.

This holiday season, letters to Santa Claus have to be delivered by Dec. 10. But what if the strike continues until then?


READ MORE:
Canada Post’s request to pause strike over holidays rejected by union

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is demanding improvements to job security, an end to forced overtime and better health and safety measures. But Canada Post has said it has made a number of offers that include increased wages and better job security.

With the two sides at a crossroads, many Canadian parents are left wondering if the tradition of children writing to Santa Claus is going to be stamped out.

Canada Post’s letter-writing program to Santa Claus has been around since 1981. Last year more than 1.6 million children wrote to Santa, which involved more than 260,000 hours of volunteer work, according to the Crown corporation.

WATCH: Here are 3 other mailing service options during the Canada Post strike






“We continue to operate through the rotating strikes and continue to process Santa’s letters,” Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said in an email to Global News. “We’ve also had volunteers at parades gathering the letters.”

“Parents should continue sending Santa letters from their children. Helping Santa with his letters is a longstanding tradition at Canada Post,” he said.

Kevin Matthews, a spokesperson for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), also told Global News, “if the strike action continues as it is,” Canada Post workers would be able to volunteer with the program, but with delays in some cases.

Trudeau puts pressure on Canada Post ahead of holidays

Although Canada Post is reassuring parents about the Santa Claus letter program, the continuing rotating strikes have also created a historic backlog of undelivered mail since they started on Oct. 22.

This has prompted some businesses and the Trudeau government to issue pleas for a resolution ahead of the busy Christmas season.

The prime minister is giving indications that his patience is running out. Last week, he said his government might soon act to end the dispute if Canada Post and CUPW cannot settle the dispute.

On Saturday, he also took Twitter urging Canada Post and the union to settle the dispute.

WATCH: Labour minister jokes that Canada Post strike ‘feels like parenting sometimes’






Trudeau isn’t the only one wanting both sides to resolve the issue. Many Canadians have taken to Twitter asking Canada Post if the ongoing strike will affect the letters to Santa program this year.

“The reindeer are on strike what’s Santa going to do?” Toronto artist and mother of two, Marjolyn Vanderhard, tweeted Monday.

Last year, Canada Post made changes to the Santa Claus letter program and stopped writing individual letters to children at school. Instead, the man in red now replies to the entire class with a large poster-sized letter that includes the names of all the children in the classroom.


READ MORE:
Canada Post says Santa won’t write individual letters to school kids — here’s why

But if children still want a personalized reply from Santa, they can write to him from home.

Where does the strike stand?

On Monday, Canada Post asked CUPW for a “cooling-off” period until the end of January to allow for negotiations. That meant union members would have to put down their picket signs over the holidays while talks are on.

“With the rotating strikes, resulting backlogs, and the massive Black Friday and Cyber Monday volumes that will arrive within days, we are trying everything we can to work together with the union — urgently — to deliver the holidays to Canadians,” Jessica McDonald, chair of the board of directors and interim president and CEO of Canada Post, said in a statement.


But the union quickly rejected the offer, saying it would not ask members to return to work under conditions that effectively have some employees working without compensation.

Canada Post workers also continued their rotating strikes Monday after rejecting the Crown agency’s latest offer and requesting the government appoint a mediator to help end the ongoing dispute.

— With files from the Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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