Federal Department of Well Being

The other night I opened my post on Scientology with a paragraph about ” sensible Canada.” Standing behind my opinion and reasons for this assertion isn’t difficult; my dilemma stems from use of the word “sensible” – I would like to change that to “reasonable” – the examples I gave where reasonable in my mind. There is nothing “sensible” about a nation with a Department of Well Being. Forget the fact it sounds like Communist propaganda; in many ways that would be easier to swallow than the mission to make Canadian federal workplaces “”inclusive to all, offensive to none”.

Susan Bonhart heads the Dept. of Well Being, her goal to include all while offending none, might just have blown my mind. Don’t get me wrong; inclusion is good, offensive is bad, yet much like the distinction between opinion and rant, where do you draw the line? At what point does it become silly?

I’ll go out on a limb by saying this is silly enough to force an amendment from “sensible” to “reasonable” – and only reasonable on a case by case basis. My Canada is nuts and I can’t stop laughing. Tomorrow I may be shaking my head but for now laughter fuels this ponder.

Listening to CBC rradio this afternoon I caught an interview with Susan Bonhart. I have to say, I kind of liked her. She came across as a grade 3 substitute teacher, trying to win over the class with exaggerated enthusiasm. Obviously a woman who takes her job seriously, scary as this may seem, I believe she means well. Good intentions and earnest delivery aside, her message was just plain silly.

The Department of Well Being was formed to govern practices for federal employees. Under the direction of Bonhart these phrases are banned in the federal workplace.”bless you”, “for heavens sake”, “oh my God”, and “cheers”. “Bless you” infers “God bless you”, is offensive as it marginalizes with the message “I believe in God, my God” When a government employee sneezes at work the suggested replacement for banned bless you is – “Oh no, I heard that”. Bonhart reasoned this response let the sneezer know they where heard and showed empathy for their sneeze. Also acceptable is the wave of a hand or pat on the back; she recommends using hand sanitizer after back contact.

“For heavens sake” is deemed offensive as it “opens up debate of an afterlife”. “Oh my God” or” OMG” implies “if you don’t share the same God as I do you have no right to be surprised” , her suggested replacements -” wow”,” oh”,” well, huh.” “Cheers” offends simply because it belongs in a bar not the office. My drive ended before any further enlightenment. If you have 5 minutes to spare, listening to the audio clip on this link will explode your head; well worth the lost few minutes of your life.


16 thoughts on “Federal Department of Well Being

  1. Reblogged this on Reason & Existenz and commented:
    It is not very often that I am brought up short by what goes on in governmental bureaucracies. I am all for making a friendlier and more inclusive work environment, but some of these suggestions defy common sense. You really should listen to the link that Notestoponder provides.

  2. Well intentioned, but a little silly. I love your analogy: “She came across as a grade 3 substitute teacher, trying to win over the class with exaggerated enthusiasm.” Brilliant!

  3. It’s so stupid as to be funny.
    There’s a medical reason for saying “God bless you” or “Bless you”. During those seconds of a sneeze your heart stops. The blessing was to get your heart started again. I think I heard this in nursing school, but have never researched it.
    Saying “Oh, I heard that!” as reassurance is ludicrous. That phrase is used for belches and flatus. Maybe she has something better for those, or weren’t they covered? How that phrase is supportive is unimaginable. It would offer the same comfort as someone standing on the other side of the room saying, “I’m giving you a hug. Can you feel me? Ooh, this hug feels so good.” Telling me that you heard it would be offensive to me. So where does that leave her little plan? I would get the counseling because she can’t come up with anything else? Maybe they would go with saying nothing?
    I doubt she knows what she’s talking about (primarily because she took the job) since she recommends using sanitizer after patting someone the back who has sneezed. The nose is on the other side. I have never once in all my years seen anyone wipe their hands on their back after sneezing.
    Her job is an impossible one. You cannot please everyone all the time. Unless she has no brains which sounds like the case. “Let’s play nice” works when you’re three. With her line of thinking you can’t even say “Have a good morning.”, or just “Good morning.” Either one could open a can of worms–What do you mean by that? Why shouldn’t I have a good morning? Why did you say it like that? What aren’t you telling me?
    What ever happened to tolerance and understanding? She needs to spend her time teaching patience, tolerance, understanding, and counseling those that are offended instead of creating problems where there were none. I do agree on one point. I’d like to see cussing and taking God’s name in vain eliminated.
    This is another fine example of government waste. Please don’t give Obama any more ideas. He’s doing a bang-up job of destroying our country all by his lonesome and those silly little Executive Orders he just loves to write.
    We are humans. Humans are naturally social. Talking is part of that social interaction. The government is trying to take that away “in our best interests”. Medically, psychologically, and spiritually we need it. Without it, we do not fair well; think of an infant with Failure to Thrive. It’s along the same lines. That makes the government’s supposed logic flawed.

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