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    • Mar3Sat

      Quotas not the answer to our diversity issues

      March 3, 2018 Sam Goldstein

      The Social Justice Warriors at the Law Society of Upper Canada (as it used to be known) can shout to the heavens above that their equality, diversity and inclusion initiative is not advocating a quota system, but I beg to differ.

      This what the society’s own website says about what they want to do: “Increase representation of racialized licensees in the professions, in proportion to the representation in the Ontario population, in all legal workplaces and at all levels of seniority.”

      It amazed me that the media fawned all over Justin Trudeau when he announced his cabinet would have gender parity (achieving exactly two more women in cabinet than in the Stephen Harper years). The Fawners ought to have asked what was magical about parity. Why not two-thirds? Why not a cabinet of all women if the most meritorious candidates are female?

      The answer is when quotas are imposed your group is limited to the arbitrary number of spots allotted to you irrespective of the number of meritorious group members. What was perceived as a great step forward for Canadian women was in fact a giant leap backward.

      What the law society website states about its own equity initiative is that if purple people make up two per cent of the population in Ontario, then if your law firm has 25 lawyers or more, then one lawyer must be a shade of purple. Purple people might think this is a great idea until they realize that limiting hires to one person per year reduces their opportunity.

      In the 1950s McGill University medical school limited three spaces per year to Jewish students. These quotas were not to advance Montreal’s Jewish community but to retard it.

      Martin Luther King dreamed of a day when people would be judged by their character. He understood that you cannot put out the flames of racism by using the same accelerant. It is insulting to reduce a person to their skin colour. There are rural and urban people, well-off, and less well-off, religious and secular, Westerner and Arctic dweller. These factors play a role in shaping how a person thinks about the world and about herself, in ways as much as and perhaps greater, than skin colour or gender.

      The society’s SJWs, however, see themselves as the great defenders of the public in all matters involving Upper Canada’s lawyers. But the society did not ask Ontarians if they care whether their lawyer is male, female, purple, or a Spaghetti Monster believer. All Ontarians care about is whether their lawyer is any good.

      SJWs inevitably fall back on the argument that quotas are needed to make up for lost ground caused by the sins of past generations. Quoting from LSUC’s 2016 Working Together for Change: Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in The Legal Professions: “Since 2001, the proportion of racialized lawyers in the Ontario legal profession has doubled, rising from nine per cent of the profession in 2001 to 18 per cent in 2014. This is compared to 23 per cent of the Ontario population who indicated in the 2006 Canada Census that they are racialized and 26 per cent of the Ontario population who indicated in the 2011 National Household Survey that they are racialized.”

      In other words, the face of Ontario lawyers is changing as the face of Canada changes. This is far from the “systematic racism” (whatever that means) that SJWs claim exists. And it is all happening organically without SJW intervention, much to their chagrin no doubt.

      Quotas will retard the advances made by racialized lawyers. But quotas will make SJWs feel purposeful.

      Sam Goldstein is a Toronto criminal lawyer.