School board apologizes for “Santa Goes Green” concert in oil patch

The play bombed in Oxbow for promoting a green agenda.

The Beaverton titles its parody Saskatchewan school Christmas pageant replaces Baby Jesus with barrel of crude, making fun of the Saskatchewan town where people recently objected to a performance of Santa Goes Green.

The school had received complaints from members of the oil industry about previous productions of the 2,000 year old story which failed to include the importance of pipelines, fracking, and in-situ bitumen extraction.

“Unlike Jesus, the barrel of crude oil did not come from the Middle East,” said an apologetic-sounding school board representative. “Our saviour is Western Canadian Select and the only way to be saved is to consume, consume, and consume.”

The real story is just as silly.

The real story is almost beyond parody. Santa Goes Green is a play for kids, composed by John Jacobson and Mac Huff.

Melting ice caps, global warming, surfing reindeer! The North Pole is going green this year and everyone is excited – everyone, that is, except Santa who likes things just the way they are. Solar panels, LED light bulbs, new power sources? It all sounds a bit inconvenient to him. Mrs. Claus, the elves, toys and reindeer have their hands full!

But it bombed in Oxbow, Saskatchewan, which is in the oil patch, and where a lot of people work in the industry. One, whose daughter was in the play, complained in Facebook:

It was a green Christmas theme, with all the words to the Christmas carols changed to support the green agenda, and don't use the pumps, and keep the oil in the ground, while they danced around wearing green plastic hats from the dollar store. Considering the state of our industry, it was a kick in the groin to those who are employed by it.

According to the CBC, The school board immediately apologized.

“There was no political agenda,” said Audrey Trombley, chair of the division's Board of Trustees. “The teacher chose the song because of the rhythm and the beat, and thought the kids would like it.”

It also had lyrics like “Turn off the pump and plug in the sleigh, it’s going to be a green holiday” which don't play well in the patch. The Director of Education said “the overall theme focused on recycling and sustainability and the children should be recognized for their efforts. At no point was there meant to be a political agenda or an anti-oil and gas industry message.”

Now it is a good thing that this happened in Saskatchewan and not down the road in Alberta, where the government has established a $30 million “war room” dedicated to stealing logos attacking environmentalists who criticize the oil industry. The composers of Santa Goes Green would have been in real trouble.

The play bombed in Oxbow for promoting a green agenda.