Human Resources Minister Diane Finley has ordered her employees to fully embrace the holiday season, reversing a ban on Christmas decorations in Service Canada centres in Quebec.
The issue added some spark to the House of Commons’ Question Period Friday when opposition MPs suggested a directive by a regional manager in Quebec forbidding decorations in public spaces left the minister looking like a Grinch.
“Why do the Conservatives want to steal the magic of Christmas from the Service Canada employees? What do they have against celebrating Christmas?" NDP MP Alex Boulerice asked.
Finley first noted the directive by Marc Simoneau only applied to Quebec’s 118 service centres and did not forbid other offices from putting up decoration.
“In Gatineau (Quebec), at the department’s office, there are decorations,” she said. “We have wonderful Christmas decorations over there. They brighten our spirits. They brighten the place up. We like Christmas.”
An hour or so later, however, the Minister hadreversed the Quebec ban that forbid putting up holiday cheer in all Service Canada's public areas.
“Minister Finley has asked Service Canada to send a revised directive to employees that they can celebrate Christmas or the holidays as they please. This includes decorations in Service Canada offices across Canada,” an email from her office on Friday stated.
Rough translation of the original email Simoneau sent, obtained by The Huffington Post Canada:
"Hello to all,
Here are certain simple rules that should help guide you in your answers to employees who wish to decorate Service Canada centres during the holiday season.
1. No decorations are permitted in lobby areas and in work spaces accessible to clients.
2. Decorations are permitted in areas reserved for employees, as long as we respect basic security rules and those of good taste.
I trust you in the interpretation you will make regarding point 2."
Original French version of the note, obtained by HuffPost:
“Bonjour à tous,
Voici quelques orientations simples qui devraient vous guider dans vos réponses aux employés désireux de décorer le CSC pour le temps des fêtes.
1. Aucune décoration dans l'aire d'accueuil et dans les espaces de travail accessibles à la clientèle.
2. Décoration permise dans l'aire réservée aux employés, dans la mesure évidemment où on respecte les règles élémentaires de sécurité et de bon goût.
Je vous fais confiance dans l'interprétation que vous ferez du point 2.”