On June 29, 2018 the incoming PC majority government unveiled its cabinet to the Ontarians. Through consolidations, the total number of cabinet ministers is reduced from the Liberal Government's 30 ministers to 21. With Premier Ford taking on one cabinet post himself, the actual number of ministers with additional staff and support is now only 20 – a reduction of 33% in expenditures from the previous regime.
To my expectations, Ford did not select his ministers with political correctness in mind. He did not select them based on gender, racial, and heritage lines to appease the demographics. 7 female MPP's are now holding cabinet posts as ministers, a percentage comparable to those elected (32%) 24 out of 76. The two Tamils and three Chinese MPP's are not named as Ministers – Premier Ford is not obligated to do so and he is not concerned about political correctness. Ministers were selected mainly based on qualifications, merits, and party ideology.
Many Chinese and Tamils feel that they were slighted given the enormous support they provided to the party in the provincial election. This mentality is one of reward expectations and pay off, turning the political process into a transaction based on ethnic group supports – a model that should never be encouraged.
Other important posts for elected MPP's will be those for Parliamentary Assistants. Those who are not selected as cabinet ministers and parliamentary assistants become “Back benchers”. Parliamentary Assistants (PA) support ministers with legislative and committee matters, including special projects and assignments that require dedicated leadership. They also play a key role in building relationships and communicating government initiatives across the province. One of the Chinese MPP's Vincent Ke becomes PA for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Sadly, the political landscape in Canada has been evolving in the wrong direction over the last decade. Ethnicity becomes the key for individuals to advance into the political arena. Enclaves with concentrations of specific ethnic or heritage groups will ensure the election of their “representatives”.
Many of these representatives are elected based on their name recognition and professional status, either locally or previous from aboard. Famous radio and television personnel, Doctors, Accountants, and Lawyers will always attract votes, regardless of their involvement and contribution (or lack thereof) to their community. Many of them do not possess the communication skill or articulation effectiveness of one of our official languages. I recall meeting one of the Ontario Liberal cabinet minister of Chinese origin and had a hard time understanding his ideas and reasoning due to his atrocious English skills.
As voters, we must elect the best representative who will work for the benefit of all constituents and not just the ethnic groups that we are identified with. Do not leave this to our next generation! To be successful Canadians, we must integrate ourselves into mainstream society and become part of it. If the nominees or candidates happen to be of our same ethnicity, so be it. Elect the best person base on merits and qualifications and their desire to serve “all constituents” regardless of race or colour.
If we are aspiring to be politicians, then we must also be prepared to work with all of the constituents as Canadians. Since we left our perspective countries and become Canadians by choice, we must work for the good of Canada. Many politicians have been identified as working for two masters. They are helping their countries of origin to further their political influence, and to sway public opinions and government policies to benefit those countries. Whether they are doing this for financial gains or patriotic gestures or both, we cannot fathom. They should be exposed and abandoned by the electorate.
The time to reverse the trend on political election by ethnicity bias is now. The political parties must also rein in their urges to get more seats through acquiring “star” candidates based on ethnicity. While the descendants from first generation immigrants will eventually alleviate or solve the problem, we need not wait for this to happen. We can all work together to get there faster and build a better country with diversity and inclusiveness based on meritocracy.
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