The photo accompanying this Toronto Star article shows Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) president Sid Ryan with a banner behind him displaying the slogan "solidarity works." Well, that might be true but apparently diversity doesn't. It appears the OFL is having some internal conflicts one of which can be blamed on the agenda they are pushing as good medicine down our collective throats.
It was revealed that a high ranking official levied charges of racial discrimination and harassment against OFL president Sid Ryan. The complainant, one Terry Downey, is the OFL's third highest ranking officer who is an African-Canadian woman born in Nova Scotia. It should be noted that she is a former investigator at the Human Rights Commission of Ontario which tells us she knows how the game is played. Ironically, she too is facing grievances from OFL staff relating to allegations of harassment and mistreatment. I guess what comes around goes around.
OFL infighting aside there is another issue here and that is the toxic minority in the workplace. What is a toxic minority? It can be anyone of any gender or race or religion or sexuality or a language group or a combination of any of all of those markers who will exploit their minority status to satisfy their ambitions or advance an agenda. Personal gain is their chief motivator and they will use what they can to get what they want, chief among their weapons is the law backed kangaroo court system called a Human Rights Commission.
Despite Terry Downey's accomplishments the ideology that guides the minds of those who have co-opted and lead Canada's labour movement leave this nagging at the back of one's mind that Terry Downey, among others, may have been a beneficiary of identity politics. She is, after all, non-white, female, and a single mother; three criteria that if played well can get one far in an environment were diversity and/or a leftist agenda determine the rules of the game. This is a shame really, since it casts doubt on an individual's competency as they are seen as the token "diversity hiree"; a stock character cast to pander to a particular group in a play seeking to appeal to as wide a range of an audience as possible. But it can be to one's benefit and if endowed with ambition you ride it for as far as it will take you.
In the OFL example one high ranking official charged another with racial discrimination and harassment. The allegations were eventually found baseless after a costly investigation and to me this is another example of victim politics strikes again. Victim politics tells us that if you are a woman, or a woman of colour, or a single mother, or a man of colour, or an immigrant, or disabled, etc., it's because you are being discriminated against and to deny you a job, or advancement, or any perk and benefit is a violation of your human rights. Terry Downey may have felt her ambitions were being frustrated because she is a woman and a "racialized" member of society and for no other reason but. So to show that discrimination is not at play Terry Downey should get what she wants because she is a woman and a "racialized" member of society. See how that works?
The University of Windsor's Faculty of Law provides another example. About a year ago the Faculty was looking for a new dean. It ended up not hiring anyone at that time but one of the unsuccessful candidates wasn't going to hear any of it. Claiming discrimination on the basis of race and sex Dr. Emily Carasco sought to force the University to rethink their decision and give her the job anyway. The University should have seen it coming because Dr. Carasco is an apparent grievance monger.
Arguably one of the most asinine examples of late was when an Ottawa couple was awarded $12,000 to be paid by Air Canada because a stewardess was unable to assist them in the French language.
The Employment Equity Commission in Ontario during the governing years of the NDP under the leadership of Bob Rae provides another example and I'm certain there are more.
The lessons here are obvious: 1) if a member of one of the government's official victim groups (which is anyone who is not an able bodied English speaking white male) gets a job or a promotion then its due to competency and accomplishment and if not then its because of discrimination necessitating an investigation and possible rectification; 2) a member of an official victim group should be accommodated everywhere and at all times and if that is not possible then compensation is in order to the benefit of the victim. This being entrenched in the psyche of our multicultural society should we at all be surprised when immigrant and minority groups act like spoiled children throwing a tantrum every time they don't get what they want?
What fuels toxic minority behaviour is a sense of entitlement germinated in the identity politics of perpetual victimhood which itself is rooted in Marxist ideology. This works in concert with multiculturalism which encourages immigrants to feel they deserve special consideration and exemption in the form of accommodation and diversity quotas. So on the one had they are victims and therefore deserve stuff while on the other hand they are different and thus special and deserve stuff as well. The result is an individual with a raging sense of entitlement that if they are denied the stuff they expect to receive the conclusion they come to is systemic discrimination as oppression which means lawsuits and human rights complaints and tribunals and nag, nag, nag.
Small business owners beware. The internal complaint brought against OFL president Sid Ryan cost more than $350,000 dollars in union dues to bring to resolution. That's $350,000 dollars in union dues! Not only is it a large sum of money wasted on nothing it also means Sid Ryan didn't have to pay a cent for his defence. Other people did via the OFL. Now imagine if you are a small business owner and one of your employees brought a similar suit against you. How will you handle it? How do you address charges of racism and sexism? You can defend yourself against wrongful dismissal suits by proving incompetency on the part of the employee. But how do you prove you're not racist or sexist? Do you have $350,000 to spend on a legal defence because few are in as fortunate a position as Sid Ryan to have other people pay it. The complainant on the other hand has their case paid for care of the taxpayer. They have nothing to lose.
In these situations the small business owner will likely capitulate to the irritant because the other option is to fight the complaint which itself is financially punishing and thus risky possibly forcing you out of business as a consequence. This is a reason why small businesses are often exempt from the dogma of diversity for diversity's sake. When it comes to diversity they simply cannot afford the risks it brings with it. Diversity from this vantage point is not good for business.
Larger organizations can absorb the costs of toxic minorities and may see it as a cost of doing business. Canada's major banks, as an example, are tripping over each other to sell financial services to the ever growing immigrant and non-white demographics. As a business strategy they'll hire people who represent target ethnic markets not because the person is possessed of any particular competency but more so to act as a magnet to attract to the bank members of target ethnic markets along with their money. You see this practice clearly on major TV news networks as ethnic talking-head newscasters of no real appeal aside from their telegenic qualities feed us the news while offering no sense of why we should take them or what they are talking about seriously. They are tokens chosen to appeal to particular ethnic markets whose eyes and ears are valued to advertisers at the cost of delivering a newscast of any real substance. To see this tokenism one only need to ask why a major Canadian market like Toronto with its sizeable black population displays a poverty of black faces on the evening news while one cannot go for more than ten minutes without seeing a face from the over represented Asian and south Asian communities. Follow the money and see which ethnic groups are more upwardly mobile and you'll see which ethnic communities are most valued by advertisers and how they influence hiring decisions.
Smaller operations, if they choose to embrace diversity in its hiring practices, better be prepared to embrace the consequences as well and the government appears intent on forcing those consequences on them. One way it does this is through the social pressure generated by a government intent on forcing diversity in all it shapes and sizes onto a passive albeit unreceptive population. Another way is through a kind of rewards system by doling out lucrative government contracts to businesses that best adhere to the diversity dogma. Small businesses will feel compelled to adopt a diversity quota in its workforce and this includes the hiring of potentially toxic minorities even if they are not the best candidates.
To illustrate imagine a work environment that is all white males. Now imagine a position opened up at the work place. Say there are ten applicants of which one is a white woman, another is a non-white woman, and another is a non-white male. Odds are the best candidate may be one of the remaining white males but even if that is the case that still leaves you open to a grievance suit. The failed applicants can allege a culture of discrimination benefiting white males and file a human rights complaint. This will cost the business time and money but not to the complainant who gets their case paid for by the tax payer. To avoid this and to bring diversity into the workplace the business selects the diversity option and hires one of the non-white male candidates. This still doesn't free them of future grievance suits since promotions may be viewed as another avenue of white male privilege if the non-white male employee feels their advancement within the organization is not happening fast enough if at all.
How promoting diversity in the workplace is a good thing is never fully explained. Some argue that it helps make a business, indeed the nation, competitive internationally but this has not, and cannot, be verified. I don't see how choosing the diversity candidate over the best candidate makes you competitive when the potential toxicity of the diversity candidate can make the workplace a poisonous environment. Choosing diversity - especially for it's own sake - does not guarantee competitiveness, or efficiency, or innovation for that matter. The more likely outcome will be mediocrity.
This post was inspired by this video.