COLUMN: Politically correct witch-hunt

Cornwall city council is a strange and wondrous place where reality takes a back burner to political correctness. Much like the rest of the modern progressives out there, one city councillor wants to look for a problem where there is not one. Councillor Elaine MacDonald proposed at the January 11th council meeting that they need action on possible bias and balance in city administration.

“When I saw the prime minister choose so many women to be in the cabinet. In fact, I think he was going for a better showing of women than we’ve had in the past and I immediately thought of our city and I thought, gee, in terms of our administration and even our council I wondered if we were doing anything deliberate to have a better result than we do.” – Councillor Elaine MacDonald

Great, another progressive wanting to look at hiring practices and attitudes based on gender, race or language. To go to a hiring quota, and to survey staff for their unintended bias. There’s another phrase for this, a witch-hunt.

Is there a bias by staff in the city of Cornwall? Are hiring practices unfair? Is there really a problem to be solved, or is the councillor trying to find a problem to fit a preconceived solution?

There are two issues with Councillor MacDonald’s idea. Surveying the staff for bias has nothing to do with staff doing their job. Personal bias should not affect job performance. If there were allegations of improper practices or human resources issues, then investigate those cases. Have there been allegations or complaints? If the councillor knows of something, then she needs to be clear and state the specific incident to investigate.

The idea of hiring quotas is the darling of the modern progressive movement. They believe we must have a workforce that is a mirror of the composition of our society, our reflection. Forget merit. Forget education. Forget experience. All those are chucked out the window because we must have an obsessive-compulsive mirroring of society.

Why worry about bringing those who are disadvantaged up to the level of everyone else? Why make affordable education available to everyone, so all can do better? Why award those who work hard to get ahead and have a better life? None of that matters to modern-progressives. Instead you fill roles. A token person from one group. one from another. When an organization, government or otherwise, has to fill roles based on quotas, you do not get the best people for the position. Productivity suffers, the organization suffers from the lack of skill or education. But it is ok because a quota was filled. Everyone feels better. Lowest common denominator progressivism is what this is.

Imagine a city council that quota filled rather than was elected at large. Would Councillor MacDonald be happy serving on council because she filled the female quota? Would she not be happier to win based on her experience, knowledge and work ethic as she has for the last three terms?

MacDonald cited that there were only three women and no francophone members on council this term. A red herring at best. If council went back to a ward system, there would be better chances of electing councillors representative of the different areas in the city.  When all 10 council positions are elected “at large”, you risk having areas not represented.

What would happen if there was a ward system and there were no women ran in one of the wards for election? Would the councillor then call for nomination quotas? Sounds like an absurd stretch, but so is a witch-hunt for bias and implementing quotas.

If the councillor wants to make hiring fairer, great. Start by making hiring practices blind to gender, race, or language. Have resumes that are viewed by human resources devoid of all personal details, leaving only education and experience. Let the first time human resources staff see a candidate’s gender or race be at the final interview. This way only the best qualified candidates for the position are available for consideration, based on merit.

If the councillor wants to make voting fairer and more representative of the makeup of the city, perfect. When will she table the motion to reinstate a ward system? If you want council to be representative of makeup of the city, the ward system is fairest way to do so.

One of the pillars of the real progressive movement is to end bias. Race, language, gender, culture need not be a factor, society is to be blind to those attributes. To install quotas is an affront to the goals of true equality. Councillor MacDonald’s efforts at McCarthyism would be better spent fixing real problems in the city.