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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

One to watch: The PC Grinch

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Rather than the Grinch, it's the government who saved Christmas. Ottawa has ruled it is still OK to wish your coworker a Merry Christmas.

Treasury board Minister Tony Clement issued the directive to thousands of federal civil servants last week, fending off any fears of a repeat of 2011, when a Quebec senior civil servant put the kibosh on Kris Kringle in the workplace.

"Our government will not allow the Christmas spirit to be Grinched," Clement said in a missive to workers.

The whole holiday season has become a big, tinsel-covered dilemma. In a workplace where not everyone celebrates Christmas, do you stick your foot in it by wishing your co-workers to have a merry one?

It's a touchy subject in a multicultural society -- and one in which secularism is fast becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Clement did not give a hint as to whether he thinks "Happy Holidays" is a better bet than "Merry Christmas."

But former Manitoba premier Gary Doer did lay down the law on the old Tannenbaum more than a decade ago when he decreed the giant evergreen tree in the rotunda of the Manitoba Legislature would be what it was: a Christmas Tree and not a multicultural tree, which PCs (but not necessarily Progressive Conservatives) had started calling it.

So, keep your eye out for evidence of politically endorsed, but possibly not politically correct, season's greetings.

And know, when it comes to holiday cheer at work, tinsel, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, latkes, dreidels and gold-covered chocolate coins are all acceptable.

The ugly Christmas sweater... that's still up for debate.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 15, 2012 J12

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