Fredericton — Early Easter Sunday while many families were just getting up to enjoy breakfast, New Brunswick’s leader was “putting on an egg-hunting clinic” for hundreds of local children on the grounds of the legislature building.
The annual event is usually open only to children aged 10 and under. But this year, Premier Gallant insisted that he participate; he wanted to give the kids a “truly special gift” by making it an Olympic-style event where he himself ended up winning gold, silver and bronze and occupying all three spots on his podium — which appeared to be a couple of milk-crates and banana boxes fused together with duct tape.
“It was both impressive and truly sad to watch,” shared Gloria Nason, whose four-year-old daughter was shut out of the hunt. “There were something like 400 eggs to be found and Gallant was ruthless in finding more than 350 of them himself. I’d never seen such an intense look of determination in someone’s eyes before — especially during an Easter egg hunt.”
Nason witnessed Gallant hurtling over children and yelling to distract them from snatching eggs before he could. She said many children left the search area crying and afraid to participate.
“I don’t think he was purposely being intimidating,” Nason said of Gallant’s intentions. “I think he just wanted to win and his adrenaline or whatever started getting the best of him.”
Onlookers were left baffled by Gallant’s participation and his fierce competitiveness.
“No doubt about it that he was by far the best one in the event,” admitted Andrew Fisher, who had three children in the hunt. “But I still think he probably should’ve let the kids win…or at least not taken all three victory spots — I don’t even understand why that was allowed.”
“The rules were made very clear at the onset,” defended Deputy Premier Stephen Horsman, official referee of the event. “It was decided that whomever found the most eggs would be awarded first place, and then given the power to pick the second- and third-place winners regardless of egg-finding totals. Premier Gallant decided — rightfully so in my opinion — that he was really the only one who deserved any of the medals.”
Our reporter asked Gallant why he chose himself for all three spots and what he plans to do with his chocolate eggs.
“I wanted to teach those kids a lesson,” Gallant said, still excited. “They obviously just came out to have a good time and expected to get something for it, but that’s not what real life is about. You’ve got to work hard for what you get and that’s what I did to get all of these eggs.
“Am I going to eat them? No, of course not. Am I going to give them to the children? What would I be teaching them then? I’m going to fill up a giant vase with these eggs and put them on my mantle right beside my winning submission for the colouring contest at the drugstore — so I can always remember this day with pride.”