When bureaucrats go wild

Top bureaucrat in federal Public Works and Government Services bans hiring of white men — but policy didn’t last

Editor’s note: This item is a little different than what normally appears in “Courtside View” in that it’s not a court case. But it was bizarre enough to qualify for inclusion.

Public Works Minister Scott Brison moved quickly to reverse a policy put forth by the top bureaucrat in his department.

The bureaucrat recently sent a memo requiring all new hires until April 2006 to be “persons who are visible minorities, aboriginal peoples with disabilities and women.” In other words, white men need not apply.

The memo was leaked, and Brison quickly announced he had rejected the policy.

“When I became aware of the directive, I took immediate action and ended it,” he was quoted as saying in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. “I support the whole policy of inclusion but I do not support discriminating against any group in hiring practice.”

Brison expressed support for diversity, but said the memo simply went too far.

“We believe in having a public service that reflects the diversity of Canada, but you don’t get there through discriminatory hiring practice,” he said.

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