Last week, we hosted the first of two joint Summits in Vancouver between our organizations, The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and The Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC). Both Summits focus on board governance, kick starting a critical national dialogue about the merits of strengthening these communication lines between Corporate Canada and aboriginal business leaders.
My children and I immigrated to Canada in 2010 as refugees. When we arrived, I was so happy that my kids were in a safe country. In Zimbabwe I remember not being able to cry or find comfort in anyone, because everyone was experiencing their own share of pain and shock. So in April of 2010, after being released from the most recent lock-up, I took my kids at midnight and headed for the border knowing that if I was caught I would be burned alive and killed. Even though I was living with the uncertainty of how my immigration hearing would pan out, watching my kids embrace Canadian culture strengthened me when I was at my weakest point.
A ceremony designed to showcase our national values of freedom of religion, expression, accommodation and speech? Well, let's just say that this election year, the Prime Minister should focus on reaching elsewhere for points rather than conjuring fear from diversity at a time where cultural understanding and unity are desperately needed.
In an era where women are still struggling to be recognized and paid for their leadership skills, it is a frustrating message that one's best shot at elevating her status is to wait patiently for opportunity to appear. Rather than sitting around waiting for a Fairy Godmother to magically deliver your next promotion, here are five movie-inspired steps you can take to prove you are a capable leader and elevate your status at work.
CBC Television went national in 1958. The CTV Television Network followed three years later. Both TV networks have grown into a Canadian staples. Over a half century, consumer habits have changed. But have the networks evolved with the changing face of the viewership? The best Canadian content is the one which reflects the full spectrum of the Canadian identity -- before and behind the cameras.
Both American and Canadian media have showcased the new wave of ethnic Barbie-sized dolls. The culturally-attuned figurines fill the gaping void in a transforming consumer base. Dark-skinned dolls with Aryan noses, Elizabethan hips, and Caucasian hair fail to capture the magic that Barbie has brought to little white girls for over 50 years.
A celebration of our history brings us to reflect on the present. There are certain questions we must ask ourselves. What challenges do Norway, Canada, and other like-minded countries face in our efforts, for example, to promote democracy, protect, and live in an inclusive society with equal rights and non-discriminatory practices? What is our role in the global picture?
A rule that has an unclear or ridiculous purpose is, on its face, unfair. A rule that cannot possibly achieve its purpose is pointless. A rule that has more negative than positive effects is unfair and undemocratic. Discipline or punishment that does not address the behaviour it purports to correct is tyrannical.
In terms of statistics, 12 per cent grew antibiotic resistance and became marginalized from others. Twenty-eight per cent of the population chose a wealthy style, happily living in their gated biofilms. Half of all the bacteria decided to take a middle-class lifestyle, choosing an easy nutrient source and never engaging in any extreme activity.
Make no mistake, everyone on that list is worthy of inclusion. They all made great contributions to our country and our world. But where are the women and non-whites who have contributed just as much? A pantheon so steadfastly monochromatic and male hardly reflects the diverse and multicultural nation we claim to be.
If we convey negative or suspicious attitudes about other cultures and ethnicities, our kids will pick up on these and replicate our behaviour. "Monkey see, monkey do" is real so keep this in mind and remember to convey a positive and open attitude about other cultures, particularly around your children.
The fact is our student populations are becoming more diverse, though that's barely mirrored in the staff make-up of most urban schools. And while there is recognition of a need to hire teachers that better reflect the student population, reaching that goal remains a long way off considering the comparably low number of teachers who self-identify as visible minorities. In the meantime, we need to foster culturally sensitive and inclusive schools where student engagement leads to higher graduation rates, the de-glamorization of gangs, and the nurturing of productive citizens of all backgrounds.
One can easily see the allure of focusing on millennial entrepreneurs. Their youth and inexperience allows them develop innovative solutions and ideas and their low overhead enables to them to work on what Y Combinator's Paul Graham famously called the "ramen diet" where the only food entrepreneurs can afford is ramen noodles.
When I leaned over and asked a woman in a movie theatre to please put her cellphone away, she started yelling at me. She AND her husband called me an F'ing TERRORIST repeatedly. Does the colour of my skin or the fact that I wear a piece of cloth on my head make it alright to lambaste me in public in front of my child and her friends?
In terms of visible minorities, the Globe and Mail is doing no better than its national print-based competitors in providing a forum for ethnic Canadian voices. This diverse demographic is projected to grow to a third of the Canadian population by 2030. Is traditional Canadian media doing anything to include, reflect or address their experiences in the multicultural mosaic, building on the wave of the present and future? The examples are few and far between.
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in the country, and the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. That's why the latest SCC appointment by Stephen Harper has ruffled so many feathers, as he appointed yet another male to replace Marie Deschamps on the bench, bringing the total count to three women, six men.
I recently served on a governance awards judging panel assembled by the Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries (CSCS). Winners of the awards were announced at this organization's annual conference in Halifax last month. I participated in a plenary discussion to discuss some of the winning practices.
The last time the Canadian Forces made a huge effort to integrate a minority, there were serious concerns. There was a demographic forming 28 per cent of the Canadian population, which was said not to fit into the traditional military mould. They were seen as too "different", too "rebellious", too contrary to ever enter the fold of the military elite. They were French-Canadians.
ADD is constantly in the news, and the news is never good. Some of these issues are very real and very serious. However, I will not address any of them today. Instead, I would like to take this small opportunity to celebrate the very things that drive some people crazy. Let's shout a big "hurray" for the following: