Thursday, October 30, 2008

Got A Hammer? I've Got To Build A Cabinet...

Nation, the glorious afterbirth of the Federal election is nearly upon us, when the victorious (sorta) Prime Minister chooses the 30-or-so people who will effectively run (or pretend to run, to the chagrin of senior civil servants) the business of the nation (Canada, not the E.S. Nation).

Much is being made, predictably, of gender and racial balance in this upcoming cabinet. Women's groups especially have come out swinging, suggesting that any less than 50% of the cabinet being populated by women will be proof that Stephen Harper doesn't like or respect women.

I've spoken on the issue of cabinet-making before, but I'm just going to touch on this very quickly, and then I'll be back later today with an analysis of the cabinet choices themselves.

If Stephen Harper names 15 women to this cabinet, just so he can say "See? I like and respect women!", then he's an idiot.

Do women make up 50% of Canada's population? Yes. Or near enough to not be worth wasting time arguing about it.

SHOULD women make up 50% of our elected MP's, and 50% of the Federal Cabinet? Yes. Absolutely.

But Harper's caucus, like ALL of the caucuses and all of the party slates, is overwhelming dominated by males. To try to paper over that fact by naming unqualified people to the cabinet just because they happen to lack the "y" chromosome is absolutely stupid - and Harper is many things, but stupid isn't one of them.

Nobody appoints a judge to the bench based on ethnicity. "We need an Asian judge, to balance out the demographics of our local jurists. Go find me a random Asian." The reason nobody does that is because you want judges who, presumably, know the law. Their ability is infinitely more important than their ethnicity. You want to hire them based on qualification, rather than demographic.

Likewise the Federal Cabinet - I don't want underqualified ministers who are serving for no other reason than demographics. You're not putting together a bubblegum pop act you're trying to market to the greatest number of "Tween-agers" possible: You're choosing the people who will make the decisions that affect our day-to-day lives. Choose people who can DO THE JOB.

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