Following the lead of Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is asking male government office workers to take off their ties as part of the province’s attempts to conserve energy. Apparently tie-less workers will be better able to tolerate the warmer workplaces created by Mr. McGuinty’s other recent energy-saving prescription: turning up the central air thermostats.
But unlike Prime Minister Koizumi, Dalton McGuinty reportedly has other plans in the works to dampen energy use by Ontario’s hydro-addicted civil servants. If a warmer, tie-less workplace doesn’t do the trick, look for these future McGuintyisms:
Spend the Night at Work Days
Rather than head home after work on really hot days, Ontario’s government workers will be asked to spend the night in their semi-air conditioned offices and to invite their families to come along, too. Apparently the idea is to save on air conditioner use at home. "We’ve already got to cool these darned government buildings anyway," said Mr. McGuinty. "No point in cooling everybody’s homes, too." For those couples without kids, the premier suggests using one’s tie on the outside door knob where appropriate. As the premier says: "If the nameplate’s rockin’, don’t come knockin’."
According to some collective agreements, when the temperature in a government building exceeds a certain limit, the workers are allowed to go home. Apparently this provision may soon be shelved if Premier McGuinty’s next suggestion comes into force: "surf days.". When the temperature hits thirty degrees Celsius or the humidex tops forty, government offices will be officially designated provincial beaches. That means everyone comes to work in the bathing suit of their choice. Don’t forget your flip flops and your flourescent sunscreen and try not to get sand on the photocopier.
For those workplaces without air conditioning at all, Mr. McGuinty is looking to implement special clothing-optional days when the mercury rises above thirty-five degrees. Civil servants will be encouraged to go ‘au naturel’ in order to help save the environment. Special cotton sheets will be provided for those with leather, leatherette or naugahyde seating. According to Premier McGuinty, if things get "too hot", specially-designated floor wardens will be authorized to hose down over-exuberant participants.
Frozen Treat Day
If Mr. McGuinty is to be believed, soon every Thursday in August will be "frozen treat day" in government offices throughout the province. "I know as a kid," said the energy-savvy premier. "That nothing cools you off better than a popsicle or an ice cream sandwich." Asked why he didn’t choose Friday as "frozen treat day", McGuinty said that there just wouldn’t be enough workers present to make the program financially feasible on that day, at least in the summer.
If Premier McGuinty’s summertime energy savers are successful, government workers can look forward to a whole new series of wintertime programs to help keep electricity use down. Offices will compete for prizes to see which one can keep their thermostat the lowest for the longest. Every payday will be "park it and parka day" when workers will be required to leave their cars at home and walk to work if they want to get paid. And last, but certainly not least, male workers will be encouraged to start wearing ties again, down-filled ties.