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Don't Drop the Haggis

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There are a lot of traditions on Parliament Hill. And sometimes fun and games.

One is the annual Speaker's dinner in honour of the poet Robbie Burns.

Which went off Wednesday night in Centre Block, but not without a hitch.

You see, Nova Scotia Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner and Ottawa NDP MP Paul Dewar were tasked with bringing in the haggis. Conservative MP Chungsen Leung was the piper. MPs from all parties looked on when suddenly, crash, bang went the haggis into a heap on the floor of the Reading Room.

You may remember Cuzner is the MP known for his rhyming skills and delivery of an annual version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas just before the House breaks for the holidays.

So Conservative MP Ed Holder from London, Ont., decided to have a little poetry fun of his own, invoking Burns, roasting Cuzner and reminding all that sometimes, even on Parliament Hill, it's all in good fun. Here is Holder's rendition, delivered during Members' Statements in the House of Commons Thursday.

"Mr. Speaker, the House thanks you for your hospitality in hosting the annual celebration of the Scottish Bard last night. I am duty bound to inform the House of the tragedy that struck.

 

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

In a night of twists and turns,

Where the pomp and glory tells a story

To honour Robbie Burns.

 

The haggis is a glorious sight

Revered by one and all.

The pipes, the toast, what means the most

Is a haggis that doesn't fall.

 

But what happened last night, when the toast was done

And the crowd looked on in horror:

Too much Scotch? an opposition botch?

And the haggis hit the floor!

 

The Cape Breton Canso kid was on one end

As he held the Haggis low;

And then his mentor from Ottawa Centre

Said, "It's time to go."

 

He held it high, the kid held it low;

They thought they would be deft.

It's a warning to all of what might fall

When you veer too far to the left.

 

The haggis then became roadkill;

Those are just the facts.

But one Paul-bearer, was heard to swear

"Let's slap on a carbon tax."

 

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

A lesson the Speaker learns:

Don't give this mission to the opposition

When we honour Robbie Burns.

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.

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