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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Only the right kind of discrimination please

The University of Saskatchewan got on its high horse this week and rejected a $500,000 gift to establish a new scholarship. A university turning down money? Turns out the donor wanted to endow a scholarship that only went to non-aboriginal students.

Now I know a lot of people will argue that given how many scholarships are open only to women and minorities and that the group that has the hardest time getting one these days is white males. (Edited for clarity - SM)

Me? While I support the right of people to do whatever they want with their money -- and the donor can set up an off-campus bursary that will shell out money to whomever they want -- I'm of the opinion that universities shouldn't be discriminating in favour of anyone except the best and the brightest, regardless of race, gender, creed or religion. I'm old fashioned that way.

So yeah, the university is hypocritical by lamely defending their race and gender-based scholarships but the answer isn't to increase discrimination.

Posted by Steve Martinovich on May 13, 2009 in Aboriginal Issues, Campus watch | Permalink


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Now I know a lot of people will argue that given how many scholarships are open only to women and minorities and that the group that has the hardest time getting one these days is white males -- and probably with some justification.
Posted by Steve Martinovich on May 13, 2009

And just what would that justification be?

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-05-13 6:31:47 PM

My apologies, I wasn't clear when I wrote that sentence. What I meant to communicate that you could argue with justification that it is white males who have the hardest time getting scholarships, not that it was justified that white males should have the hardest time getting them.

Posted by: Steve Martinovich | 2009-05-13 6:40:59 PM

The statement "...and the donor can set up an off-campus bursary that will shell out money to whomever they want..." is quite incorrect from a number of legal stand points, consider the edge cases and you'll see what I mean.

There is quite a big difference (from a legal standpoint about offering a benefit to a defined group rather than DENYING it to a defined group.

The provider could probably stipulate the scholarship is only to be granted to protestant males with light colored hair over 5' 8" in height and of european decent and a skin pigmentation which reflects more than x% of the light cast on it.

However doing so would likely cause a HRC complaint and the whole of the fund would be dried up defending the provider.

This is much the same as the hypocritical political sabotage which shut down the fraternity of white policeman.

If you allow one kind of selection you shouldn't be allowed to deny in kind exclusion.

However the government of Canada in general grants all kinds of special room for natives. For example Inuit who live in Nunavut are not required to register their guns. This patently means that one racial group of people is exempt from a law which is supposed to apply to all Canadians for the greater good.

So we can read these articles and get mad about it, but who's going to do anything? You? I doubt it, you're too busy reading blogs.

Posted by: Pete | 2009-05-13 8:05:34 PM

Yeah. Universities are hypocritical socialists. Like we need more proof.

Everyone, please stop donating to your university when they call and explain why. They will get the message.

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-05-13 11:51:52 PM

In an ideal world bursaries and scholarships would be granted based solely on merit and people would not be divided and identified by sex, colour, ethnic origins and whatever. When one is truly opposed to such discrimination, one must also be opposed to the numerous government programs and policies favouring people based on the same divisions.

As epsilon points out our universities are hypocritical socialists, but the problem goes far beyond them with governments leading the way.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-05-14 11:04:59 AM

"For example Inuit who live in Nunavut are not required to register their guns. This patently means that one racial group of people is exempt from a law which is supposed to apply to all Canadians for the greater good. So we can read these articles and get mad about it"

This always puzzles me. Most people reading this believe that gun registration is wrong, and is a violation of individual rights, freedoms and liberty...

And yet -- when some people are exempted, instead of working hard or protesting, or doing things to try and make it so that EVERYBODY gets more freedom they demand that everybody be equally enslaved to the same stupid laws that they don't think should exist to begin with.

The solution is to repeal the gun registry laws for everybody -- NOT to call for EQUAL enslavement under the laws.

Do you know WHY the Aborignal People's gun rights are currently respected by the Federal Government? Because there was a 99% non-compliance rate among native populations where they attempted enforcement.

See -- if more non-natives had had the balls to refuse to participate, maybe the gun registry would not have happened to begin with.

Posted by: MW | 2009-05-15 4:51:49 AM

MW I agree with your comments in general but I suspect treaty rights and agreements may have something to do with Native people being excused from registering their guns. In any case I fully support them in their non compliance and admit that had the majority of all gun owners done the same, things might have been different.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-05-15 11:15:42 AM

Treaties are respected because of two reasons-- There exists legal grounds for their existence, preservation. AND A political situaton exists that makes it untenable for one agrieved party in a treaty to renege on their commitments.

One is a matter of historical fact - the other involves some effort on the part of participants affected to keep the situation alive.

For whatever reason, natives (primarily those on reserves) did not see any benfit to conceding jurisdiction to the federal government on this issue -- and enough of them were prepared to go to jail and to go to court and have both sides waste millions of dollars wrangling over the matter.

Natives en masse refused to participate in the gun registration, and enough native leaders got together and pledged to create a war-chest to legally challenge any attempt at enforcement. People felt more safe challenging the gun-registry because they believed in what they were doing AND they knew that there was a war-chest that was being built up, to help them if they did suffer for refusing to conceded Federal jurisdiction.

There is no political party or organization that did what the native leaders in this case did. The Cons lost the game when all they did was complain about THE COSTS of the registry and complain about how inefficent it was. The Cons leadership wimped out -- and by attempting to appease liberals in Canada refused to tackle the issue head on. There's is almost nothing worse than bad arguements for a good idea. The Cons could have done exactly what the native leaders did on this issue. They did do a half assed job of making promises to scrap the registry. But they refused to discuss the ethics of the matter. They refused to say "Government should not force people to register their guns". (Which is what native people said... but they said "The Fed Govt has no jurisdiction over our gun rights) --

And look at what's happened as a result -- The Cons have not scrapped the gun registry. As I understand it,their whole effort is now one of attempting to make it less costly and more efficient. Since they never argued against the registry itself, and instead just whinged about the costs and such... They have no room to maneuver now.

It was the leadership of the conservative movement that lost this battle... They refused to act boldly, and to state their true convinctions. They refused to listen to their grassroots - OR do anything tangible to help any dissenters.

So - I agree that on one hand, there is a legal situation that exists that allows for more effective dissent

On the other hand, if gun-owners across Canada had approached the situation the same way --- treated it like it was a real and illigitimate attempt to infringe on rights - and been prepared to bankroll mass protests, civil suits and constitutional challenges... things might have gone very differently.

Government will always attempt to exapand its power and scope over the lives of the people. That is simply a given. What protected native people in this instance (like what has protected Americans) is both the legal situation and the political climate they created. For Natives it was the issue of sovereignty and jurisdiction. For Americans -- it's been the existence of the 2nd ammendment.

Americans and Natives in Canada created the reality that we currently live with - because they believed in their rights and were/are willing to go to the mat to defend said rights.

You need both to defend against governmental excesses succesfully.

It's stuff like this that makes me extremely leery of professional politics. Professional politics always make compromises so that they can achieve more power. Professional politicians thought that by complaining about the costs and innefficency of the gun registry, they could appeal to BOTH the conservative base AND non-conservatives. They might have achieved more electoral power because of that -- but by doing so ... these professional politicians actively (albeit perhaps unintentionally) colluded with the forces that wanted to strip citzens of their rights.

The cons position makes no sense (unless you are a politician) The cons think that the gun-registry is wrong and should not exist -- AND YET, all they have managed to do by playing electoral politics is make a government instiutution that SHOULD NOT exist in the first place, MORE efficient and better able to act to suppress people's rights.

So -- in a way, If I were a conservative, I'd spend more time getting angry at the professional conservative politicians who had their chance to STOP the gun registration -- but instead, chose to try and make themselves look better, by pretending that there wasn't anything wrong with the actual idea of gun-registration.

AND - that is what I mean when I talk about IDEAS having consequences, and why "political compromises" are a slow-acting and deadly poison.

Posted by: MW | 2009-05-15 7:27:51 PM

Oh yeah -- another thing that professional politicians love to do -- is -- in attempting to deflect any responsibility for their OWN failures to succesfully act against the issue -- they love to make complaints to the grass-roots about Native exemptions. See, they know that people will instead of looking at their failure to act, love to obsesses about the fact that Indians don't have to register.

It's distraction -- deflection and deception.

It's red-meat to appease people. And that's part of why I get so suspicious of groups like the CTF and the Conservative party when it comes to native issues. The Conservatives could have wrangled on behalf of the grassrooots -- they could have gone to the mat on this, they could have scrapped the gun registry. But they failed to do any of that.

So -- all that's left is to bitch about the indians -- in the hopes that enough people will get so angry about "race based rights" being unfair -- and never look at the fact that the Conservative Leadership is MORE than willing to sacrifice the rights of Canadians in order to achieve electoral success.

Professional Politicians in electoral politics are NEVER real friends to freedom, liberty and individual rights.

Sure -- I think "race based rights" are unfair. The problem is however -- natives did what they had to to protect their rights. They are still willing to do what they have to protect their rights.

And -- the reality is that the Conservative movement could STILL turn this around-- if they really had the will to do it. But the problem is -- the conservative movement does not have the will to do what needs to be done to protect individual rights. And that isn't the fault of the natives.

From my point of view - I am more than happy to enjoy my freedoms with respect to non-compliance with the registry. I would work hard with conservatives to see that freedom extended to non-natives.

But because of the CTF type stuff in the movmen and people obsessed with making sure everybody is equally enslaved -- there is nothing I (or any native) can do to help. And that's how the neat little trick about obsssessing over indians with guns works for professional politicians.

At some point - when Cons get over their animosity towards natives -- things might change so that Native people and Conservatives will realize that they have MORE in common with each other than they ever had in common with the mandarin class of politicians in Ottawa.

Boy - that would be something...

Posted by: MW | 2009-05-15 7:48:30 PM

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