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ZYTARUK: Canada apprenticeship incentive grants paint men only one-third worthy of help

Canada apprenticeship incentive grants offer women $6,000, men $2,000

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So let it be written…

Does this seem fair to you?

If it does, it shouldn’t.

The Government of Canada has decided there is a disproportionate number of men in the trades compared to women. And so, in the spirit of wholesome social engineering, it is attempting to counterbalance this evil, at the career entry level anyway, by offering female apprentices a grant at three times the rate of that available to the masculine gender.

There are two sets of grants. One is called the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant, or AIG. It’s designed to help applicants pay for their expenses – you know, tools, transportation etcetera – while training as an apprentice in a designated Red Seal trade. This $1,000 grant can be applied for twice during the course of training, to a lifetime maximum of $2,000.

The second is called the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women. To be eligible for the AIG-W, the government says, the applicant must self-identity as a woman. It’s worth $3,000 per year, to a lifetime maximum of $6,000.

There are at least three problems with this.

The first is, a young woman from a wealthy family has access to three times the amount of financial help under this program than does a young man from a poor family.

Second, it flies in the face of the concept that women, being truly equal in capability, do not need government to elevate their prospects by purposefully limiting the prospects of men. Some might consider it patronizing.

The third problem is, these are public funds. If it were a private foundation controlling the purse, that would be fine – it’s the prerogative of the private sector to champion what causes it chooses to champion.

But this is not that case.

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This two-tiered grants program based on gender was brought in by the Trudeau government in its Budget 2018.

Ironically, if anybody ever got a leg-up in life, it’s the prime minister himself, born into a millionaire family. Many young men and women were not, and unlike him must struggle to find their way in life. It’s tough enough out there today without young men having their government tell them they are less worthy of public support than are young women.

When you only rate a one-third, you’re second-class.

As the federal government says women are underrepresented in the trades, it therefore necessarily follows, logically, that men are over-represented.

Hmm…

To the best of my knowledge, no other country on the planet has ever had a Trudeau as its leader. And yet, Canada has had two male Trudeaus as prime ministers.

I mean, it’s disproportionate.

Our current prime minister’s father, Pierre Trudeau, was the third longest-serving prime minister in the nation’s history, for 15 years and 164 days, all told. During that time, incidentally, he brought in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, designed to protect citizens from unfair actions of the state. (Wherein, clause 28, the “rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.”)

Justin “We are all better off when everyone’s rights are protected” Trudeau has been prime minister for three years and 36 days.

Between father and son, that’s 18 years and 200 days. So far. Certainly a long time for any one family to dominate the office of prime minister. Comparatively speaking, you might call it an over-representation of Trudeau.

Maybe it’s time to give a woman a chance…

So let it be done.

Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now-Leader.

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