Twas an Alberta night before Christmas

Twas an Alberta night before Christmas

Twas an Alberta night before Christmas


(adapted from Twas the Night Before Christmas, C. Moore or H. Livingston)

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, definitely not a Greater Sage Grouse

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

In hopes that a wetland policy soon would be there

The children were nestled all snug in their beds

While visions of climate change dance’d in their heads

And mama in her kerchief and I in my cap

Had just settled our brains for a regional planningmap

When out on the lawn arose such a clatter

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter

Away to the Legislature, I flew like a flash

Tore open Bill 36 and threw in some cash

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow

Gave the luster of planning for environmental objects below

When what to my wondering eyes should appear

But a miniature sleigh and eight endangered rein-deer

With a little old driver, so lively and quick

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick

More rapid than eagles his courses they came

And he whistled and shouted and called actions to blame

“Now oil sands, now seismic, now infrastructure, all vixens

On habitat, on impacts, that’s what we need a fixen”

To the top of the precipice to the dead end wall,

Now flash away, flash away, populations fall

As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly

When they meet an obstacle, mount to the sky

So up to the house tops the courses they flew

With the sleigh full of half measures, and St. Nicholas too

And then in a twinkling, I heard but needed proof

Water allocation review was more than mere spoof

As I drew in my head, and was turning around

Down the chimney St. Nick came with a bound

He was dress’d all in fur from his head to his foot

And his clothes were all tarnished with PAHs and soot

A bundle of public interest groups sat on the landing

And they looked to get legal rights to participate, that’s “standing”

His eyes, how they twinkled! No public land he’d sell

His grasslands were valuable, biologically diverse he’d tell

His droll little mouth drawn up in a sneer

He had grave concerns for woodland caribou, that’s right, his reindeer

The stump of a pipe he gritted in his teeth,

With concerns over fracking and what went on beneath

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf

But without effective environmental assessment he doubted himself

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

He demanded better monitoring, for cumulative effects, he said

He said few more words, but went straight to work

And filled all his policies, with environmental objectives, you jerk

And laying his finger aside of his nose

Public watchdogs we need until results, policy shows

He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle

It’s action he wanted, a public interest missile

But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight

Happy Christmas to all, let’s treat our environment right.




The Environmental Law Centre (ELC) has been seeking strong and effective environmental laws since it was founded in 1982. The ELC is dedicated to providing credible, comprehensive and objective legal information regarding natural resources, energy and environmental law, policy and regulation in Alberta. The ELC’s mission is to educate and champion for strong laws and rights so all Albertans can enjoy clean water, clean air and a healthy environment. Our vision is a society where laws secure an environment that sustains current and future generations.

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