Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Democratic Deficit"?

"Few visible minorities on the bench, judicial study finds" read a headline in the Toronto Star of June 28, 2012. Immigration Reporter Nicholas Keung stated that "visible minorities are grossly under-represented in Canada's judiciary."

This observation was based on a report from Ryerson University's Diversity Institute whose founder, Wendy Cukier, described this situation as a "democratic deficit."

The report continues, "The problem with the federal appointment system is its concentration of decision-making in the hands of politicians."  Does this imply that politicians are anti-visible minority? Do we really care if the judge, or other appointee, is a polka-dotted Houyhnhnm, as long as he/she is competent and fair?

This same questionable argument permeates much of contemporary discourse. Minority groups demand that their distinguishing characteristic be represented in government services to the extent they are part of society.  But what if a certain minority group is the best in a certain field of endeavour? Should such a policy cap their participation?

The Toronto Raptors basketball team is overwhelmingly black. Does that constitute racism against non-blacks?

This demand for ethnic representation is a recent phenomenon. Before 1960, immigrants kept a low profile as they went about their business of turning virgin territory into productive farm land, of digging ditches so their sons and daughters could one day build condominiums, and operate rooming houses, so their children might attend university, get elected to political office and enjoy a better life. They would have considered "democratic deficit" as so much politically-correct jargon.

No comments: