It’s time to raise the curtain

“Good evening everybody! Welcome to our first – and probably last – annual Province House Christmas Pageant. I’m your host, Karen Casey.”

“Boo!”

“Resign!”

“Yes, yes, it’s simply grand to see all of you here, too. As your Minister of Education, I want to ensure you that I have been listening to the concerns of everybody involved in our little kerfuffle – parents, teachers, students, school boards, and of course, our friends the pollsters. We’ve heard your worries about the evil nasty NSTU members going on work-to-rule hours and eliminating extras like Christmas concerts. So we’ve decided to stage our own concert, just for you! Isn’t that wonderful?”

“Boo!”

“Resign!”

“Why, yes, these are new shoes. Thank you for noticing. All right, let’s get started. First of all, let’s welcome our fearless leader, Premier Stephen McNeil, to sing a whimsical version of ‘Deck The Halls.’ Mr. Premier, if you please?”

“Ahem…“ (Cough) “Ahem…um…” (Cough) “Okay, I’ve got it now:

Close the schools on Monday morning – fa la la la la, la la la la
Give the parents two days’ warning – fa la la la la, la la la la
Claim the province isn’t budging – fa la la, la la la, la la la
While our numbers we are fudging – fa la la la la, la la la…”

“Get off the stage!”

“Get out of politics!”

“Wait a minute, wait a minute. Mrs. Casey, where are my backup singers? Weren’t the Liberal caucus members supposed to come out here and sing this with me, wearing those cool reindeer antlers we got on sale at Costco?”

“Um, yes, Mr. Premier, they were. But it seems that they all tiptoed quietly from one side of the stage to the other and slipped out the back door. They must have known that those nosy reporter-types were all waiting in the front row.”

“Oh well, that doesn’t matter. I’ve got 10 more verses about how broke we are and how the students’ safety comes first. Ahem…”

“Well, that’s lovely, Mr. Premier, but we’ve got a lot happening in our little concert, so we’ll have to move right along. Next, we have a delightful holiday song from my old friend, PC Leader Jamie Baillie. In the spirit of Christmas, I’m sure he’s forgiven me for that time I crossed the floor from the Tories to the Liberals shortly after he became party leader. Isn’t that right, Mr. Baillie?”

“Are you still here? I’ve been asking you to quit for the last two weeks. And as everybody knows, government ministers always quit as soon as opposition leaders ask for it.”

“Ha-ha-ha! What a funny joke! I’m sure your song will be just as hilarious, Mr. Baillie. Let’s hear your version of ‘Holly Jolly Christmas.’”

“Have a happy Tory Christmas, when you vote us in next year
I’m the man without a plan, but you don’t need to fear
We’ll be out of debt next Christmas, and lower taxes you will pay
Just vote Tory and I’ll figure out the details…some-day!”

“Oh, my, that was hilarious! You sure delivered on your promise to be funny, Mr. Baillie. In fact, that’s the only promise you’ve delivered on since you became PC Leader.”

“Hey, if anyone would recognize a broken promise, it’s a Liberal cabinet minister. All right, everybody, here’s the second verse…”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Baillie, but in the spirit of fiscal responsibility, we’ve only got enough money to pay for the spotlight to remain on you for a single verse. Maybe you can pick this up next year. And now, here’s the NDP Caucus Choir, directed by Gary Burrill. He has to stand up and direct the choir, you see, since he doesn’t have his own seat. Oh, golly, I’m witty! Take it away, Mr. Burrill.”

“We’re not such merry gentlemen and ladies here today
We used to be in power, until it slipped away
How did we go from government to just six M-L-A’s?
Still, our comeback is just around the bend – We’ll make new friends
As we spend and spend and spend and spend and spend!”

“Marvelous! Thank you, NDP choir…”

“Wait! We’re not finished yet. We’re still working on our second verse. What rhymes with ‘free tuition’?”

“Sorry, we don’t have time for that. We’ve moving on to our grand finale, with all the happy NSTU members singing a song of peace and love and compliance. Where’s our rosy-cheeked NSTU Glee Club, Mr. Samson?”

“Bad news, Mrs. Casey – they’re all outside, waving picket signs and chanting slogans.”

“Well! I guess that brings us to the end of our Province House Christmas Pageant, unless our contract negotiators find some way to keep it going. Thank you all for coming.”

“Boo!”

“Resign!”

“Bah, humbug!”