After posting a picture of him sitting on the lap of black faced Christmas character from his official Twitter account, Nova Scotia Liberal Joachim Stroink has recently deleted the post and issued a statement to comment on the matter. The photo tweeted by provincial politician showed him and his wife at a Dutch Christmas event on Sunday in Halifax. In the picture, a smiling Stroink could be seen sitting on the lap of Zwarte Piet, or “Black Pete,” i.e. a Dutch character at the center of debate in the Netherlands.
According to Dutch traditions, a customary song references to the character as a “servant” to the elderly St. Nicholas, however in recent years the interpretation has been largely questioned. It is now largely perceived that the idea behind black color is due to exposure of chimney soot caused by him scrambling down to deliver toys and sweets for children who leave their shoes out overnight.