Humour@TheAtomicMoose.ca: The 12 days of Christmas, courtesy of Ottawa

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The 12 days of Christmas, courtesy of Ottawa

Prime Minister Paul Martin's pledge to review spending by all federal departments prompted some civil servants to circulate an e-mail joking about how the 12 Days of Christmas would be altered by the Liberals. In fact, the cuts envisioned run so deep that the civil servants reduced the 12 Days of Christmas to 11. Following is a copy of the e-mail.

  1. The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree, which never produced the cash crop that was previously forecasted by Agriculture and Agrifood Canada, will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance.
  2. Two turtle doves represent a redundancy created by senior officials that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their close relationship is under investigation by the auditor-general to ensure that no undue influence was used in the creation of these positions. They are therefore eliminated.
  3. The three French hens will remain intact. Their bilingualism is an asset to the organization and, following the treasury board secretariat announcement on new policies on official languages, more French hens may be recruited in the new fiscal year.
  4. The four calling birds will be replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is under way by the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked.
  5. The five golden rings have been put on hold. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals, as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks, appear to be in order.
  6. The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury that can no longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day was an example of the general decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the competition process by the Public Service Commission will assure senior management that, from now on, every goose it gets will be a good one.
  7. The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order from Bombardier. The current swans will be retrained through Human Resources and Skills Development to learn some new strokes, thereby enhancing their outplacement.
  8. As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the Employment Equity Committee. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching.
  9. Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps. The new Department of Social Development (formerly Income Security Programs) will assist the ladies with transition into retirement.
  10. Ten lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of lords, plus the expense of international air travel, prompted Pay and Benefits at Treasury Board to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work federal cabinet ministers. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant as there are currently an oversupply of unemployed former federal cabinet ministers.
  11. Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on new music and no uniforms will produce savings that will drop right to the bottom line. Canadian Heritage will oversee these changes.
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