Further criticism on the Kapp decision

The last posting refers to the Supreme Court of Canada’s Kapp decision which validated a race-based commercial fishery quota in British Columbia. A further article goes on to point out that race based quotas just create a new class of victims.

Quotas are one-size-fits-all remedies for problems that deserve more careful and specific treatment. The way to help Canadians in poverty, including aboriginals discriminated against in the past, is to provide targeted money and education based on individual need. The worst thing a government can do is to use the scattered approach of quotas, which only creates new victims.

To illustrate, in the West Coast fishery, the new quota victims include fishermen of Vietnamese, Japanese and even aboriginal ancestry. The combination of the discrimination-is-OK section of the Charter and federal policy means Kim Nguyen, the first woman of Vietnamese ancestry to join the B.C. fishing industry, is now a second-class Canadian citizen.

The Charter-plus-policy discrimination racket also means George Horne, an aboriginal who has been fishing for 50 years and who belongs to the Saanich Indian Band, can’t fish commercially on an equal basis because of such quotas. He belongs to the “wrong” aboriginal collective.

A third unintended victim of intended racial quotas is Leslie Budden.

Budden is of Japanese ancestry and wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2006 to note how her family now faced discrimination for the second time in a century because they were not of the proper race. She noted how in the 1920s the federal government created race-based commercial fisheries that handicapped those of Japanese origin — including her grandfather, Rintaro Hayashi. Eventually, the fishermen went to court and won. Equal rights were restored in the fishery by the Privy Council in England in 1929.

As noted in the previous post it will remain to be seen how this decision plays out in other areas.


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