Quebec considers “exaggerated” theexclusion of white men from a call for applications at Laval University under criteria set by the federal government that go “very far” according to Deputy Prime Minister Geneviève Guilbault.
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“Encouraging the contracting or granting of research funds to underrepresented groups with equal competence, yes. But explicitly excluding competent people because they are not part of a visible minority or because they are men is overkill for the Quebec government,” she reacted on Facebook on Wednesday.
A false good idea”
Asked Wednesday by comedian Guy Nantel for a call for applications excluding white men, Laval University explained that it was doing this to meet criteria set in 2017 by the Canada Research Chair program.
According to the latter, targets were established for each institution, which determines measures to increase the representation of the four underrepresented groups in the university environment, namely women, aborigines, people with disabilities and belonging to minorities.
This is not an isolated case, as at least four similar calls published this fall by Université Laval included the same criteria.
However, this method is a bad way to have a better representation, believes the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge. “Discriminating to combat discrimination is a false good idea,” he explained Wednesday during an impromptu press conference in the corridors of the National Assembly.
Opposition parties also set up barricades.
According to the leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, this is an “ideology that comes to us from federal funding” that risks creating tensions in universities, being “unacceptable”. Instead, he advocates selecting candidates based on merit.
Quebec Liberal Party leader Dominique Anglade also considers this method “goes too far”.
“Having evolved in many circles where there were minorities that were not represented, I am in favor of the fact that we should have better representation. […]. But from there to exclude the world based on that, I don’t think we’re going in the right direction,” she explained.
While refusing to condemn the way of doing things at Université Laval, Québec solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois argued that a “more progressive” approach is preferable.
“It is important that these goals are binding, but there are more progressive ways to achieve these goals, so we, that’s what we proposed, in Québec solidaire. For us, it was one in four hires to reach the target for the organization in question,” she explained.