Negative action

I have never been comfortable with affirmative action. It seems like ‘taking turns’ at being unfair, or a matter of two wrongs making a right. I’ve never believed in either of those things. I’m all for fixing a problem, but not when the means are just as bad as the problem itself. This doesn’t even get into how considering race, whether in discriminating or in redressing discrimination, discards the concept of hiring the best qualified person for the job.

I had none of this in mind when I read an article in The National Post called “White Men Need Not Apply.” In a nutshell, David Marshall, Deputy Director of Public Works and Government Services Canada, sent an e-mail memo to all the managers in Public Works. The money quote is:

All persons recruited externally must be from designated groups (persons who are visible minorities, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and women), except for cases having received ADM/CEO written approval. This measure will be in force until March 31, 2006, at which time we will re-assess our progress.

I’m aghast at this … which is why I had very little in the way of calm reasoning in mind when I read the article. Is this really the country I live in? Granted we do tend to be more politically correct than I think is a good thing, but this is way over the top. I’d find it funny if it didn’t completely piss me off. Yes, I did already write my MP, though I have no idea if this will come up in the House. Still, it made me feel better … and I CCed a copy to the ‘comments’ address at Public Works.

I would’ve sent a copy to Marshall himself, but his bio page on the Public Works site has no e-mail address.

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