Candy Bar Controversy

A man is suing the Toronto Santa Claus Parade after he was hit in the eye by a candy bar. The miniature chocolate candy bar was allegedly thrown into the crowd by a volunteer clown where it hit the man in his eye causing pain and permanent partial blindness. Despite the Canadian social safety net which would provide health care for any injuries sustained as well as unemployment insurance for loss of work, the man says the parade owes him $500,000.

The candy bar lawsuit was launched because the man claims that the clown should not have been engaging in an activity (throwing candy bars to kids) that they knew, or ought to have known, posed a danger to spectators. The candy bar claim also specifies that reasonable care should have been taken to ensure that spectators along the parade route were safe.

While there is no doubt of a general sense of sympathy for the man hit with the candy bar, the lawsuit is controversial because it calls into question the lengths required to ensure public safety at public events. There are certainly no other cases of candy bar maiming at Santa Claus parades in recent memory which begs the question, is an isolated incident involving one man and one candy bar, sufficient reason to end years of tradition? That is the possible consequence of the candy bar claim. If the parade which runs to a tight budget as it is, is required to compensate half a million dollars there is a good chance it will not survive.

Realistically it isn’t possible to anticipate every conceivable freak accident that can occur at an event, nor should that be reasonably expected. Apart from practical care by parade organizers, one might arguably suggest that the duty of self care must rest with individuals. If an accident does occur, well accidents do happen. The alternative is to be so wrapped in cotton wool that we will have to watch future parades from behind a Plexiglas wall. The poor clown who threw the candy bar!

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