3 Things The Black Community Should Demand From Justin Trudeau

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Published by ByBlacks.com

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3 Things The Black Community Should Demand From Justin Trudeau

On Monday, October 19th – Justin Trudeau won the first Liberal majority in 15 years.
His team ran a well-executed campaign which led to the Liberals winning 184 seats. This also marks the first time in Canadian history that a son/daughter of a former Prime Minister will occupy 24 Sussex Drive. Mr. Trudeau will officially become Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister on November 4th.

Now that the election is over, it is time for the Black community to consider what we should demand from the new Liberal majority government. Obviously the community will hope to see Celina Caesar-Chavannes, named to a Cabinet post. Her resume combined with winning in the riding of the late Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty should lead to her being rewarded with a Cabinet post. That being said, there are three areas we should focus on in relation to our new government.

1) Accessible Public Transit
The Liberal platform promised to increase funding for public transit by 4 times. While public transit is vital for all Canadians, it is probably even more important for the Black community. In a report titled, Towards a Vision for the Black Community , the data showed that 36.6% of the Black population depended on public transit vs. 11.5% of the general population. This obviously highlights the need for increased investment in public transit. However, public transit projects must be improved in areas where the Black community lives and works. For instance, the York University Subway Extension will benefit York university students however the bus routes within Jane & Finch and the surrounding areas are still impacted by poor service.

The cities of Brampton and Ajax have fast growing Black communities that will require building more transit that connects the 905 region to Toronto proper. Announcing billions in new transit is a good start. Ensuring that the routes proposed improve the daily commute where Black people live is the important next step. This is one of the criticisms of John Tory’s Smart Track Plan for Toronto. The Toronto Pearson Airport to Union Express (UP) has run into a problem of accessibly due to cost. Public transit that is not accessible due to price or location is of no use to us.

2) Equal and Fair Access to Government procurement
The Government of Canada purchases $15 to 20 billion worth of goods and services every year. The Liberal platform will add to this, as it proposes significant investments in Canada’s infrastructure. For social infrastructure, the Liberals will invest $20 billion over 10 years. This will focus on affordable housing and child care spaces. In addition, $6 billion will be spent on Green Energy Infrastructure over the next 4 years. Overall, the Liberal infrastructure platform is being hailed as historic.

With these high levels of infrastructure spending, the Black community must ensure that Black businesses are able to bid and win contracts with the Federal Government. Black businesses that are skilled in delivering goods and services that provide direct or indirect support for infrastructure must be given the opportunity to win contracts. This will require a diligent and intensive lobbying effort. In today’s economic climate, it is often very difficult for small businesses (much less Black businesses) to do business with the Federal Government. The firms who tend to win Federal Government Business are large firms with effective lobbies. To fix this issue, the Trudeau Government should set aside a portion of its investments for small businesses as well as businesses owned by visible minorities. This is already being done in the United States via the Minority Business Development Agency (MDBA).

During the campaign, Mr. Trudeau was clear about the fact that Canadians need good paying jobs. The Minority Business Development Agency has done that in the United States. “During the first three years of the Obama Administration, MBDA facilitated a total of over 16,300 new jobs — an increase of 20% over the prior 3-year period.”

Naysayers who stand against the concept for set asides for minority run businesses should also note that “Between 2009 and 2011, MBDA achieved a return on taxpayer Investment (ROI) between 102x and 130x.” This agency was created by Republican President Richard Nixon.

3) Practical Skills Development Training
To ensure that the Black Community has the skills to deliver value in areas such as infrastructure, technology, social, health etc. – the community must demand fair access to training. Not just post-secondary education, but also practical on the job training and apprenticeships. Thus, the Black community should demand that any new infrastructure project funded by the Government of Canada include on the job training for Black youth and those re-entering the workforce.

For instance, the York Subway project that extends into Vaughan should be providing practical training opportunities for Black youth who reside in the surrounding areas. All funding should have this condition attached. From the building of new affordable housing in Peel Region, to upgrading information technology infrastructure to increasing funding for social agencies – all Federal Government funding commitments must include training opportunities for Black people. Too often others reap the financial and training benefits of projects within the Black community, and not those who are actually living there. This is outrageous and must stop.

The first step towards change is the vote for it. The next steps are much more difficult. It involves various members of the Black community creating effective lobby groups. It is time to focus on how we can directly benefit from increased Government Investments. Prime Minister Designate Trudeau’s reference to former Prime Minister, Wilfred Laurier “Sunny Ways” indicates that he is open to new ideals from all Canadians. It is time for Black Canadians to be a vital part of that conservation.

Too often we say we want change yet we have not changed our tactics. Real Change starts within. Let it begin right now!

How many Donald Sterling’s are destroying the lives of Blacks in North America?

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Excuse me, as I am sure there are a million blog posts about this topic.  But I figured I would add my two cents.

When TMZ.com released the Donald Sterling audio this past weekend, many were shocked to hear such blatant racism come from an accomplished business/sports personality.  Perhaps even more shocking to many, was the fact that he displayed racism towards the very same group (Blacks/African Americans) who just happen to represent the majority of his team, and league.

Note, this is not the first time Sterling has had ‘race’ problems.   Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports highlights this in a recent article

Obama speaks on Sterling remarks

Obama speaks on Sterling remarks

However for many of us who are Black, this is neither shocking or surprising.   Instead, what Sterling has done is underline what many of us feel – That no matter our skill & education level, many in power view us Blacks as inferior being who shouldn’t think, talk or action unless we have permission from our ‘masters’.

This mindset is often found online when the topic surrounds race or ethnicity right here in Canada.   When Blacks speak up on an array of issues, many will speak to us as if we have no right to have an opinion.  The common line of “Freedom of Speech” in invoked, however it is only freedom of speech when THEY have an opinion, not us.

The problem becomes larger however if those behind the keyboards are also the same individuals sitting in the Executive Offices of various places of employment.  As we posted in a previous blog – a job is how many of us regardless or race/gender, provide for our families.   If the people who control your employment have the same attitude of a Donald Sterling or many of these “keyboard haters”, then we start to see racism transform from not only a social issue but an economic one.

At least we know where Sterling stands on this issue as it relates to Blacks.  The deeper concerns are as follows:

  • Why did the NBA wait for this event to happen when Sterling has a history of demonstrating this behaviour?  Why has the NBA protected him for so long?
  • For every Sterling, how many more people in power have this view towards Blacks?
  • How many qualified Blacks are overlooked for promotions, new opportunities and business ventures due to racism?
  • If multimillionaire NBA players who bring in millions for the league and sponsours can be looked upon in this manner, how are everyday, hard working blacks viewed?

From Sterling’s comments, to the racist backlash against President Obama – an increasing amount of blacks at all socioeconomic levels are seeing their worst fears confirmed.   The fear is that even if we are contributing to society; are we still viewed as modern day slaves?

Some will argue that Affirmation Action/Employment equity is making a difference.  However, even TIME Magazine in a recent article mentions that it is not Blacks reaping the benefits of Affirmation Action.

There are millions of people who adore the NBA and its players.   Basketball is a beautiful sport and has helped transform many lives.   Many of those millions are Blacks who work hard and contribute to our society.   Are they getting a fair shake at work?  Are their kids getting fair shake at school?

Maybe we don’t feel the need to speak about this issue because after all, we are “multicultural”.   But as a Black Man born and raised in Canada, I don’t see multiculturalism in the hall of power.  Or even in our media nearly enough.

I would rather deal with someone who is honest about not liking me than with someone who poses with pictures of Elton Brand yet makes disgusting comments like this to this girlfriend about Blacks.  I just wonder, how many Donald Sterling’s are out there and how many lives of good hard working Black People are they destroying?

 

Blog by Radcliffe Dockery

 

 

 

 

The Left and the Right need to get out of their ideological comfort zones

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Taken from the Toronto Star...

CCPAOntario has an economic problem, which is leading to great social problems due to financial stress.  And no amount of rhetoric from the left or the right will change this.  What is required is for all stakeholders in our economy from educators, unions, investors, entrepreneurs and politicians to get together and develop practical solutions.

First step, as a service driven economy our education system needs to staffed with educators who have real world experience.   This has to start in high school.  Teachers should be in more intense training or job placements for the subjects they teach whether it be arts, sciences, business and technology.  Our students use smartphones and the interest, they can see through BS quickly – thus our educators must be on prepared with real work knowledge.

Second, the private sector must start telling the truth about the skills shortage.  I know first hand what it is like when you are unemployed and have the skills/experience for 90% of the jobs in your field.  However, it seems as if many companies are posting jobs just to fill their databases with resumes.      Even worse, we often see that a company will post a job, reject all candidates then within 2 months re post the same job again – and continue the cycle over and over again.  We need to stop the hype about skills shortages and ensure that the the shortage is REAL.   Sadly, too many Canadians are spending money on training courses only to remain unemployed. Good for training schools, bad for families.

Third, Ontario has to embrace trade more aggressively.   Recently on The Agenda, there had a a great discussion about foreign markets.   BRICS (Brazil, Russia, Indian, China, South Africa) and MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey).    Lawyer Mark Warner made the key point on the show when he stated “When entering an emerging market, businesses have to be prepared for the unexpected… it won’t be smooth, but the opportunities are there”.   Companies, investors and academic thought leaders have to embrace emerging markets more aggressively.   Export Development Bank of Canada can provide lots of support for companies entering these markets.

Fourth, Ontario has to start investing in the RIGHT sectors.   Yes, the Auto Sector is important to the economy.   However, the attitude of Ford Canada and UNIFOR towards the South Korean Free Trade Agreement is a concern.   While Ford USA embraced the deal, Ford Canada did not.   UNIFOR compared imports/exports of cars between Canada and South Korea as proof of this being a bad deal for Canada.   The focus instead should be about how Ontario plants can 1) Attract more investment from VW, BMW, Audi etc into Canada  2)  making cars that foreign markets would want.

While Ontario continues to invest money in the Auto Sector, even when they don’t want it.    – The information technology, entertainment, logistics and infrastructure sectors do not get enough attention.   Ontario needs to focus more funds on industries that will lead to great exports for our companies.

In Ontario, we are no longer a manufacturing hot bed.  Tim Hudak has a plan however it sounds more rhetorical than practical.  Premier Wynne, speaks in platitudes and Andrea Horvarth doesn’t give us much detail.

The left and the right need to stop sitting in their ideological comfort zones and start focusing on practical solutions to our economic problems.   While both sides continue their rhetoric, way too many Ontario families continue to struggle.   Stop the noise and start getting to work!

blog post by Radcliffe Dockery

 

Black History Personality of the Day – The Hon. Senator Don Oliver

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Senator Oliver was the First Black Male named to the Senate of Canada.

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On September 7, 1990, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney summoned him to the Senate of Canada. Since his arrival in the Senate, Senator Oliver has served as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce; Chairman of the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs; Chair of the Standing Committee on National Finance; Chair of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry; Chair of the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications. Senator Oliver was Co-chair of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on a Code of Conduct for Parliamentarians.  Learn more about Senator Oliver

Blog by Radcliffe Dockery

State of Black Canadians – Facts vs. Fiction!

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The Black Community in Canada is vibrant and growing!    In 2013, a group of some of the best black minds in Canada came together to put gather statistics about Black Canada.   One of the most interesting statistics destroys the stereotypes that Blacks are “dependent” on Government.   Below are some highlights from the report.

T1888571_513005795481101_2089841211_nTaken from the Report Titled, “Toward a Vision for the Black Community”

Is there a skills shortage or a shortage of common sense?

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Many can relate to this image

Many can relate to this image

I will not disclose names to protect the privacy of the individuals mentioned in this post.

We see the common refrain from business leaders and governments worldwide – “We need more skills, we have a skills shortage etc etc”.

In particular job functions this is probably true.  It is not easy to find a Cyber Security Expert.  However, there appears to be a disconnect between skills shortages and common sense.  Let’s look at two cases:

M has over 15 years of experience in Fabrication and also has skills in advanced graphic design.   He has worked in the Auto sector, for major parts suppliers yet also has diverse skills in graphic design.  He has designed brochures for major condo, real estate developers.   M recently was let go from his job (a job provided via an agency).   M has a wife and 2 young children to support.   M decides to engage the Canada Economic Action Plan to see if they can help.  After all, look at all the ads on TV.    M gets in touch with a firm saying they need his skills as they are hard to find.   However there are two problems. 1) This is yet another agency not the actual hiring firm and 2) They offer him a job that pays $11.50/hr working full time.   How does a 40+ highly skilled male with a wife and 2 children support his family making $11.50/hr?  Especially when his previous role paid him well over $20?   This makes no sense.  Who is really benefiting from the Billions spent on the Economic Action Plan?

Person D has over 6 years experience in the Sales & Marketing field in Southern Africa.   She later obtains certifications and enrolls for a Masters program while maintaining her job.   She hears that her country requires more Sales people in the Information Technology and Telecommunications fields.   So she obtains another certification in Telecommunications.   She meets all the criteria but when she applies for a job with her own firm or 2 others – they tell her; that she doesn’t have the skills.  The firm instead overpays for an outsider when she was already qualified for.   Yet as recent as two weeks ago, a business association in the region claims that youth are not prepared for the job market.  

Where is this disconnect coming from?   On one hand, industry says we need more skills.  Yet at the same time will pay someone the salary that a teenager would make.   On the next hand, a young professional does everything industry tells her to do yet is told – tough luck.

In North America, many highly skilled people are wondering what on earth is going on.   In Africa and the Caribbean who both have very high rates of youth employment – young professionals are wondering , what else do I have to do to make a decent living?

Yes, every nation needs a skilled workforce with modern skills.  However, every nation and hiring organization also needs COMMON SENSE!!!

 

blog post by Radcliffe Dockery

Large delegations are one thing, taxpayers picking up the tab for the rich is another

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Taxpayers to pay travel costs for business travellers on Harper’s Mideast trip Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/taxpayers-to-pay-travel-costs-for-business-travellers-on-harper-s-mideast-trip-1.1643839#ixzz2qgBI2KDt

While I completely agree with taxpayers paying for our elected officials to build diplomatic and trade relationships around the world; I do question why Canadian taxpayers are picking up the tab for private sector business leaders.   Whether the trip to be China, India, Israel, Senegal etc, when wealthy individuals from the private sector are asked to be part of a delegation, they should pay their own way.

The PMO owes taxpayers full disclosure about the total cost of paying for such a large delegation for this and any trip!  It is the lack of disclosure that hurt this government in 2014, and is one of the reasons why citizens are more skeptical of government than ever before.   Let’s try to be 100% transparent!!