REALity June 2018                                                                                     Ottawa, ON

In May 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave the commencement address at New York University. During his address, he memorably stated “our celebration of difference needs to extend to differences of values and belief”. This is rubbish coming from an individual who insists that those receiving a grant under the Summer Jobs Program must sign an attestation that they support abortion; who requires all his Liberal candidates to support abortion; who has tried to stifle opposition in Parliament by changing the rules to curb debate; and who has appointed a series of so-called “independent” senators who happen to think just like him and agree with his legislation.

Trudeau appointed three new “independent” senators the week of the Senate vote on Bill C-45 (marijuana). One of these new senators was sworn in three days before the vote and the other two, a few hours before the vote. All three voted in support of the bill.

The Senate Banking Committee and Diversity

The Senate Banking Committee is currently in the throes of grappling with Trudeau’s “diversity” (undefined) in Bill C-25. This bill presented by Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains (Mississauga-Malton) is supposed to bring “diversity” to Canada’s corporate boards and senior management. During the Senate hearing, Mr. Bains argued that diversity on the boards would improve corporate performance. When questioned about whether there are any studies to support this proposition, Mr. Bains quoted a study which unfortunately did not reach the conclusion he claimed. Conservative Senator David Tkachuk provided the Committee with studies that disputed Mr. Bains’ proposition.

In regard to Bill C-25 however, Mr. Bains argued that “diversity” means more than gender diversity, but also targets other identities such as those from different ethnicities, the disabled, etc., as well as those holding different views, approaches and thinking. If implemented, this would result in a completely different kind of board of directors for Canada’s corporations.

Government-mandated diversity of views and thinking as well as identities has no place in the boardrooms of the nation. Boardrooms are centres for profit seeking, decision-making, not just for the shareholders, but also to boost the economy and provide jobs and benefits for workers. They are not socio/political operations.

Mr. Bains repeatedly threatened the Committee that if the corporations did not conform voluntarily to the general objectives of Bill C-25, then the government would take more direct action. He said “If we don’t see meaningful progress within three to five years we’ll have to re-evaluate what else we have in our tool kit”. In other words, he is threatening mandatory compliance.

It is significant that even if the Trudeau government does eventually mandate so-called “diversity” on corporate boards, it may not be too helpful. This conclusion is based on the situation in Iceland which has some of the world’s strongest laws on workplace equality and equal pay. Yet Iceland has one of Europe’s highest per capita levels of reported rapes. An Iceland study in 2010 from the University of Iceland found that 30% of Icelandic women aged 18 to 80 reported having been physically attacked by a man at least once, and violence, harassment and sexism still abound. Clearly, equal representation according to identity on corporate boards does not eliminate violence or provide peaceful co-existence in a nation.