Thursday, May 31, 2012

Diversity Strengthens Public Confidence in Administration of Justice

Critics of racial diversity among Ontario's judiciary overlook the profound and positive impact which such diversity has in terms of its positive impact on public confidence in the administration of justice.  Race is not important they argue.  What is important is that we appoint the best people to the bench.  From the point of view of these critics the best people for the job is simply maintaining the status quo. The appointment of persons other than men of European descent means that standards are being lowered.  The fact is that a judiciary made up almost exlusively of men of European descent in today's Ontario communicates on a certain level that our public policies with respect to multiculturalism and equality of opportunity is nothing more than political correctness void of truth or substance.  Appointing judges from a cross-section of the community conveys the important message of inclusiveness and affirms our commitment to equality and the rule of law. How could this possibly be a bad thing ?

This little debate brings back fond memories of my trip to San Francisco some years ago.  I wandered into an Irish Pub and was conversing with some lads when suddenly I exclaimed - "My where are the black folk around here ?  I understood that San Francisco was progressive."  The pub was packed and I was the only person of African descent in the place.  One of the lads at the bar looked at me in an appologetic manner and said, "you know that point had never occurred to me."  It had never dawned on him that the races were in fact very much segregated in San Francisco.  I suspect that in much the same way that the lad at the pub was oblivious to the racial divide around him so to are the critics of racial diversity among Ontario's judiciary.

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