Unique hiring practices

I was sitting thinking about the election results the other day, and how it will affect the lives of the average Canadian. I then started to follow a very interesting chain of thought. Being a politician is a very unique hiring process.

Lets start at the beginning and look at getting nominated and elected. It is a tough, gruelling process and also starts a long slide. Lets face it, you can’t get elected without campaign funds, and obtaining those funds is inherently corrupting. You don’t get given money for nothing, and the people or organizations which donate to your campaign are doing so for a variety of reasons, and not all are altruistic.

By the time you take your seat in the house, you have a long line of favours you owe.

This is where it gets interesting though. Let’s say that you form part of the governing party. Currently the ruling party in Canada has 124 seats, of which 30 or so will form part of the Cabinet.

So, statistically speaking you have a one in four chance of being in control of a major or minor portfolio, all things being equal. Those aren’t bad odds when compared to the odds that an average person has when applying for a plumb position.

The rules for selection to these portfolios are never stated, but they include many factors other than skill. They will include proportional representation based upon geography, ethnicity, gender and many other factors. Any single group that can be identified will be screaming if they don’t have their representation in government and rightly or wrongly will be claiming bias.

You can try and tar and feather me here, but the current government has 14 elected women MPs out of the 124 total, so there will be immense pressure to appoint a significant number of them to Cabinet. There will also be pressure to represent all areas of the country, so if you are one of the 10 MPs elected from Quebec, it will also increase your chances. I’m not even going to get into ethnicity, but you can see where I’m going here.

The bottom line on this is the talent pool is pretty limited and realpolitik limits it even further. If you were a shareholder in the largest company in the country would you be happy that the members of its executive were selected this way?

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