OTTAWA — Anapestic tetrameters were on full display in the House of Commons Wednesday with MPs indulging themselves in some comic relief and sharing political riffs of “’Twas The Night Before Christmas.”
It’s an annual tradition that was made popular by former longtime Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner, who did not run for re-election last year.
The audience was different this time around with MPs spread across the country in different rooms and different Zooms — a pandemic-spurred change of parliamentary norms noted by Liberal MP Anthony Housefather.
“Working for your constituents, fighting for grants; wearing shirt, tie, and jacket, with no need for pants,” Housefather said, reprising his role as Cuzner’s heir apparent as the party’s poet-in-residence.
Watch: Annual ″Twas the Night Before Christmas’ tradition gets pandemic twists. Story continues below video:
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre also had his turn to share his rendition of the classic Christmas poem, which he updated with a throwback to the WE Charity controversy — and depiction of the party’s new leader, Erin O’Toole, as a Santa-saving hero.
“Out of an helicopter, an air force vet ran, a dashing and handsome, slightly balding man,” said Poilievre.“‘Goodness,’ asked Saint Nick, ‘Who’s this man on a mission? My gosh, it’s the leader of the Opposition.’”
The Liberals weren’t the only party Poilievre who made the editor’s cut in his rhyming couplets.
“Each party will chip in some coins for free,” said Poilievre in a verse about Canada’s growing debt. “If it’s loonies we need, they’re in the NDP.”
Earlier, Green Party Parliamentary Leader Elizabeth May joined into the chamber sitting virtually with a more humanist variation.
Watch: Elizabeth May’s Christmas poem is all about a future with vaccines:
“We know we are best when we speak from our heart, next year must be better if we all do our part,” May said, squeezing in public health advice to remind Canadians to avoid in-person holiday celebrations with multiple households this year.
“So stay in your bubble, and keep your distance at school. And God bless us all, through Hanukkah and Yule.”
The House of Commons is scheduled to rise for the holidays this week with sittings expected to resume in late January.