Canada has one of the highest rates of deliberate discrimination in the world.
If you're a white, straight, middle-aged male, by now you have most likely realized that your social value is close to none. If you happen to be Christian, you have even less value. If you are evangelical, you might as well accept your fate and give up.
If you are an atheist, you get a little bit of a break. A white, straight, middle-aged male who is Jewish, Jehovah's Witness or Mormon, is seen with better eyes, as long as the liberals are in power.
If you are a visible minority, you're better positioned.
If you happen to be gay, your future opportunities are by far brighter, as long as you come out of the closet. A woman's value is even higher.
If a political party, politically correct company or any organization with a human rights policy gets a woman who is a visible minority, lesbian and disabled, it is like winning the jackpot. She is by far the most valuable social commodity.
Businesses and politicians will fight to get her simply because they want to appear inclusive and open-minded, as this elusive person covers almost all socially valued areas and quotas of the Canadian human rights code.
We live in a society where reverse discrimination is common.
Apply for a job, and you will usually find a category where you can self-select a special status (native, female, disabled or visible minority, for example). If you can select any of these options, your likelihood of being hired increases significantly.
There are companies in the North that guarantee well-paid jobs to any aboriginal person who wants to work for them. An aboriginal person or visible minority has priority hiring status in many school districts as well.
To be hired to work in the government, a female, visible minority and preferably a French speaker is much more likely to be hired than a white, English-speaking male.
I understand this arises from historical injustices when such groups were discriminated against and treated unfairly. Reverse discrimination was initiated to counter these disadvantages.
But it is not right that innocent individuals today should pay for the sins of their ancestors, that some individuals have advantages over others.
Discrimination means treating individuals differently for irrelevant and unfair reasons, and this is never right, even if the intention is good. To be truly fair, the only criteria when selecting a candidate would be the skills, abilities and knowledge needed to do the job, not a list of irrelevant points from the Human Rights Code.
This ensures the best person gets the job, male or female, Christian or Muslim, Martian or terrestrial.
When this occurs, organizations benefit by getting the most effective employee who has the most to add, and all society benefits by having the best services and products.
It is a win-win for everyone.
An individual who receives their job because of affirmative action or other reasons ought to feel somewhat bad, for they are not getting the job due to their abilities and skills.
If we say we value equality as a society, then each person needs to be treated equally on their own merits. As the great feminist Mary Wollstonecraft said, "it is a farce to call any being virtuous whose virtues do not result from the exercise of its own reason."
Or from its own effort and abilities.
Salomon Rayek is a Kelowna resident and former executive editor of the Jewish Tribune. Email: