How McKinsey Makes Its Own Rules

Seems like our Ambassador to China got out at the right time…

It’s not easy being McKinsey & Company these days.

For most of its 90-odd-year existence, the prestigious management consultancy prided itself on remaining above the fray. McKinsey consultants plied the executive suites of Fortune 500 companies, counseling chief executives with discretion and quietly building a business that, with $10 billion in annual revenues, is now bigger than many of the entities it serves. The substance of the company’s work, and even the identities of its clients, lie concealed under an institutional code of silence. That reticence, enforced by a nondisclosure agreement, bedeviled Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign until last Monday, when McKinsey granted him a rare dispensation to reveal the names of his former clients.

On the occasions when McKinsey’s work has been scrutinized of late, it hasn’t reflected well on the firm. Reporting by The New York Times, ProPublica and others over the past 18 months has raised serious questions about how it does business at home and abroad: corruption allegations against companies McKinsey partnered with in South Africa and Mongolia; a federal criminal investigation into the firm’s bankruptcy practice in the United States; attempts to deny that it helped put into effect controversial Trump administration immigration policies; and evidence that McKinsey cherry-picked nonviolent inmates for a pilot project and made it seem that an attempt to curb violence at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex was working (it wasn’t). McKinsey has denied wrongdoing in each of these instances.

These and other examples of McKinsey’s recent conduct reveal a common dynamic. An examination of these episodes, including thousands of pages of documents and interviews with dozens of current and former McKinsey consultants and clients from multiple projects, suggests McKinsey behaves as if it believes the rules should bend to its way of doing things, not the other way around.

McKinsey’s self-regard has long been uncommonly high. In the firm’s 2010 internal history, a copy of which ProPublica obtained, partners compare the firm to the Marine Corps, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Jesuits: “analytically rigorous, deeply principled seekers of knowledge and truth,” the history’s authors write. One McKinsey partner went a step further, declaring without a hint of irony that the firm’s trait of shared values is more than “even the Catholic Church can promise.”

This attitude works for the firm in corporate consulting, an unregulated field where McKinsey’s reputation leaves it largely free to do things its own way and where its insistence on not being publicly credited has also shielded it from blame for its failures. But as McKinsey has expanded its consulting empire in recent years, it has taken on a growing book of work for government entities, as well as for corporate clients in areas subject to government oversight, such as advising bankrupt companies on restructuring.

In that field, consulting firms confront a web of contracting, disclosure and ethics rules that are designed to dictate and limit their behavior. These rules exist to prevent governments from wasting taxpayer money on underqualified or overpriced contractors and to protect government integrity and avoid conflicts of interests. In recent years, as McKinsey has burrowed deeper into this world, interviews and records show, it has developed a habit of disregarding inconvenient rules and norms to secure, retain and profit from government work.

Consider McKinsey’s imbroglios in South Africa and Mongolia. The firm did not follow the due diligence protocols commonly deployed to avoid running afoul of anti-corruption laws. The result: Its consultants found themselves working alongside dubious local companies that got them entangled in corruption investigations. Only after McKinsey became embroiled in the South Africa corruption scandal did the firm decide it needed to put more stringent safeguards in place.

In the United States, a damning but largely overlooked report issued in July by the Office of Inspector General for the General Services Administration, the hub for federal contracting, depicted McKinsey as ignoring rules and refusing to take no for an answer. The report examined McKinsey’s attempts to renew a major long-running contract in 2016. The firm was asked to provide additional pricing information to satisfy federal contracting rules. Rather than comply, McKinsey went over the contracting officer’s head, lodging complaints with top G.S.A. officials, who refused to exempt the firm from the rules.

Eventually, the firm found a friendly G.S.A. manager who was willing to not only award the contract, but also manipulated the G.S.A.’s pricing tools to increase the value of the contract by tens of millions of dollars. The report concluded the manager “violated requirements governing ethical conduct.”

The pattern repeated itself when McKinsey failed in multiple attempts to win a separate contract around the same time. Stymied, according to the report, McKinsey browbeat the contracting officer, threatening to resubmit the proposal until it got its way. The G.S.A. manager again intervened for reasons left unexplained by the report and McKinsey got its contract.

The report’s assessment of McKinsey’s behavior was withering, and it revealed that the firm subsequently used the same friendly manager to help secure contracts at three other federal agencies in 2017 and 2018. “Multiple contracting officers,” the inspector general wrote, told investigators that McKinsey’s requests were “inappropriate” and “a conflict of interest.”

The report recommended that the G.S.A. cancel the contracts, which as of earlier this year had earned McKinsey nearly $1 billion over a 13-year span. In a response to the report, the G.S.A. stated that it would ask McKinsey to renegotiate the contracts to lower the price. “If McKinsey declines” or “renegotiations do not yield a result in the government’s best interest,” the agency wrote, it would cancel them. Neither has happened to date, according to federal contracting records. A McKinsey spokesman said: “We have reviewed the report and the relevant facts, and have found no evidence of any improper conduct by our firm. We are in negotiations with G.S.A. and look forward to completing them soon.” A G.S.A. spokesperson said it is negotiating for “better pricing” and will not award McKinsey any further work under the contracts until those negotiations are concluded.

McKinsey has also taken steps to evade public accountability. As ProPublica reported, a senior partner leading McKinsey’s work at Rikers asked top corrections officials and members of the consulting team to restrict their communications to Wickr, an encrypted messaging app that deletes messages automatically after a few hours or days. That insulated some of McKinsey’s work from government oversight and public records requests. (“Our policies require colleagues to adhere to all relevant laws and regulations,” a McKinsey spokesman said. He neither confirmed nor denied the use of Wickr.)

Speaking more broadly, the McKinsey spokesman said: “We hear the calls for change. We are working hard to address the issues that have been raised.”

McKinsey has so far escaped serious repercussions for its reluctance to follow inconvenient rules. That could change next year.

Consultancies such as McKinsey, which advise companies restructuring under bankruptcy protection, are required to disclose potential conflicts of interest. For the past few years, McKinsey has been locked in a complicated set of court disputes with Jay Alix, the founder of a competing advisory firm, and with the Justice Department’s bankruptcy watchdog over whether McKinsey failed to follow bankruptcy disclosure rules, a subject The Times has covered in depth.

McKinsey has, since then, disclosed a number of new potential conflicts in old bankruptcy cases and paid $32.5 million to creditors and the United States trustee to settle claims over insufficient disclosures. The trustee has said that “McKinsey failed to satisfy its obligations under bankruptcy law and demonstrated a lack of candor.” The firm denies wrongdoing and says it settled “in order to move forward and focus on serving its clients.”

Subsequently, McKinsey has moved, in effect, to rewrite the rules. It drafted a protocol ostensibly meant to clarify what advisers like itself need to disclose. Critics pointed out that McKinsey’s protocol allows such firms to avoid disclosing relationships they deem indirect or “de minimis.”

There remains more to come. Apart from the criminal investigation, a judge in Houston has scheduled a trial in February to decide the merits of Mr. Alix’s allegations. The judge, David R. Jones, has described the trial in apocalyptic tones. It will be, Judge Jones has said, “the ultimate career ender for somebody.” For McKinsey, a trial would mean being called on to defend its work in public — with real accountability and real consequences for its actions. The firm might even benefit in the long run from the sunlight.

Source: How McKinsey Makes Its Own Rules

How to improve Canada’s Parents and Grandparents immigration program in 2020

Interesting proposal by Kareem El-Assal for a Parents and Grandparents Human Capital Pilot:

January has typically marked the opening of the window for immigrants to express their interest in sponsoring family under Canada’s Parents and Grandparents Program, or PGP.

However, given the challenges Canada has had managing the PGP and the recent federal election in October, it remains unknown as to when the PGP intake window will open in 2020 and what the application process will look like.

This provides an opportunity to think of innovative solutions that could help improve the PGP. For instance, the federal government might consider launching a new Parents and Grandparents Human Capital Pilot.

PGP costs and benefits

Canada is keeping its PGP intake target stable at about 21,000 people under its 2019-2021 Immigration Levels Plan.

The PGP accounts for only six per cent of all newcomers to Canada because its economic benefits are not as strong as Canada’s other social immigration streams.

It is more beneficial to Canada’s economy to welcome spouses and other dependents, as well as refugees, who tend to arrive at a younger age and will contribute more in working hours and taxes than the average parent and grandparent. The time these former groups spend working in Canada will help to subsidize the health care they will require later in life, whereas parents and grandparents arrive in Canada at ages when they need health care the most, even though they will have yet to contribute in taxes.

There is, however, an economic justification for welcoming parents and grandparents. They provide child care, which enables their families to save money and earn more income by working extra hours. They also help to supplement the household income by working in Canada themselves. This helps us understand why data from the 2016 Census show that immigrant families tend to have nearly identical homeownership rates (69 per cent) and household incomes as Canadian-born families (CAD 85,000 annually).

We must also take into consideration the PGP’s social benefit: strong families are the bedrock of Canadian society.

Frustration abounds

Given that some 100,000 people tried to access a request to sponsor form in January 2019, vying for just 21,000 PGP spots, pleasing everyone is an impossible task and the PGP process has inevitably become a source of widespread frustration.

The federal government has recognized the limitations of the different approaches that it has tried to process PGP applications. It previously operated a first-come, first-served model where it would review applications in the order in which they were received. By 2011, this had produced a backlog of about 165,000 PGP applications. Processing times were over five years which meant that unfortunately, some parents and grandparents passed away before their application could be reviewed.

To tackle the backlog, Canada announced in 2011 that it would temporarily freeze new PGP applications and increased its PGP intake target from about 15,000 annually to 25,000 people in 2012 and 2013, before reducing it to the current target.

In 2017, the federal government introduced a lottery system for the PGP. Interested sponsors had 30 days to submit an expression of interest and the government then randomly selected candidates and invited them to apply to sponsor family.

While this approach was innovative, it had several limitations. Applicants were uncertain if their family member would ever make it into Canada. There were also applicants who were not serious about sponsoring their parents or grandparents—some of them were randomly selected but they never went ahead and submitted an application, regrettably causing delays for the federal government and more genuine candidates.

The federal government returned to a first-come, first-served approach in January 2019. The government set a date and time when the PGP Interest to Sponsor form would be made available online and accepted the first 27,000 submissions. This approach again proved problematic as more than 100,000 people tried to access the form at the same time and the submission period lasted about 10 minutes before the quota was met. Many could not access the form and others that did could not complete it on time, leading to renewed criticism of the process.

Federal government should not be afraid to innovate

We can expect another revamped version of the PGP in 2020. Since the demand to sponsor will continue to exceed the number of available spots, managing the PGP to everyone’s satisfaction will never be possible. But recent lessons provide us with a roadmap of how the federal government can proceed prudently.

First, dropping the expression of interest approach in favour of a return to an application-based model would solve a key headache for the government. This move would require giving stakeholders advance notice of when the application window will open so they can prepare their documentation. When the window does open, the federal government needs to give sponsors a reasonable amount of time to submit an electronic or paper-based application. To avoid overburdening the system, the federal government can increase efforts to attract genuine candidates by requiring that they pay the sponsorship fee in full upfront.

Second, the federal government can adjust its immigration levels based on the number of applications it receives. This would require more flexibility to, say, welcome up to an additional 10,000 PGP in certain years to ensure a reasonable processing standard (e.g., within three years).

Third, it can continue to promote its Super Visa that enables parents and grandparents to visit Canada multiple times for a period of up to 10 years. The Super Visa has been criticized for requiring these individuals to obtain private health insurance, which may be unaffordable for some families, but it at least provides families with certainty that they will be able to reunite with their loved ones. Moreover, encouraging greater use of the Super Visa would take the pressure off the PGP.

Fourth, the federal government can explore other innovative approaches to managing the PGP. Despite the criticism of its efforts to better handle the PGP in recent years, a key reason why Canada’s immigration system is so successful is the federal government’s willingness to find new solutions to longstanding challenges, such as managing backlogs. The introduction of the Express Entry system in January 2015 is a case in point.

Parents and Grandparents Human Capital Pilot

One innovation for consideration is introducing a human capital-based approach to managing some PGP applications. The federal government could launch an Economic Class pilot whereby parents and grandparents who are younger in age and have higher levels of education, work experience, and English or French proficiency would get first preference. The pilot would complement the existing PGP Family Class stream and the Super Visa.

One of the reasons the pilot would be novel is that candidates under federal Express Entry-managed programs receive fewer points once they hit a certain age (a candidate gets no points for their age once they turn 45).

Under the Parents and Grandparents Human Capital Pilot, the federal government could welcome up to 2,750 principal applicants per year (the maximum number allowed under a pilot). This figure would likely be more in the neighbourhood of 3,500 parents and grandparents per year since a share of principal applicants would be accompanied by their spouses.

This idea may be unpopular since critics could argue the PGP exists to strengthen Canadian society, not its economy. But this pilot could at least expedite processing for individuals who meet its criteria and would reduce the number of applications submitted to the PGP, which would help to improve PGP processing times.

Moreover, it is an idea that would be easier to sell to the Canadian public. Previous federal government research has indicated the PGP has less public support than other immigration streams. This is likely due to the perception the PGP has little economic benefit and is a burden to the health care system.

However, by bringing in parents and grandparents who are younger and possess stronger human capital, the federal government could make the argument that such individuals are more likely to contribute to the labour market as workers and could help subsidize the health care they will eventually need in Canada.

The future of the PGP in 2020 remains uncertain. The only certainty is it will remain difficult for Canada to manage a program with some 100,000 people vying for just 21,000 spots.

Source: How to improve Canada’s Parents and Grandparents immigration program in 2020

New role as Shadow Minister of Multiculturalism

Of interest given how Genuis defines his role and multiculturalism:

I am honoured to be officially taking on the role of Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism within the Conservative caucus. The government appoints a cabinet, responsible for administering the affairs of the nation. The “shadow cabinet” is a parallel structure that exists in the opposition, whereby specific members are tasked with leading the opposition’s response to the government on specific files. Shadow cabinet can also be about preparing to take on similar roles in government, although positions do often shift at that point for a variety of reasons.

My role as Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism involves holding the government to account in terms of their actions related to multicultural policy, and also working to ensure that our caucus is hearing and incorporating the unique experiences and perspectives of minority communities.

The Conservative caucus’s approach to multiculturalism is unique. We recognize and celebrate Canada’s identity as a community of communities. We are a country made up of distinct and different communities of people, who come together as part of a shared national community with common values and objectives. Attachments to the particulars of one’s own religious or ethnic community are good and reasonable, but they also must be transcended in the creation of a greater national community of shared commitments, of intertwining histories, and of unifying solidarity. This unity, in the midst of our diversity, is built on the foundation of freedom, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. New Canadians come here not principally because of our diversity, but because of the freedom and peace that characterize our country and how we live well together in it.

In this role, I will always emphasize the importance of unity in diversity, and work to build common ground. Our country is quite divided right now – divided in terms of region, politics, religion, culture, and other dimensions. A lot of this division is the result, in my view, of policies pursued in the last four years at the federal level. Albertans feel disconnected from the rest of Canada because of anti-energy bills like C-48 and C-69. Cultural divisions have been exacerbated by a government that fails to effectively manage our immigration system and accuses anyone who disagrees with them of being bigoted.

Other factors have also accentuated division, such as the passage of bill 21 in Quebec and a rise in fringe xenophobic rhetoric. People understandably want to preserve their own culture, but preserving one’s own culture and faith does not require the suppression of someone else’s.

Multiculturalism isn’t just about diversity of appearance and confession – it includes diversity of thought and opinion. I will continue to challenge the government to respect the rights of people who hold different opinions from them and still participate fully in Canadian society.

In the midst of all these challenges, I will always emphasize unity, the importance of finding common ground, and the necessity of protecting fundamental rights and freedoms.

I look forward to taking on this important challenge.

Source: New role as Shadow Minister of Multiculturalism

A Black Metal Festival in Ukraine This Weekend Is the Neo-Nazi Networking Event of the Year

Never knew of this disturbing genre of music but not surprised that the far right has a cultural aspect:

Hundreds of far-right extremists will converge on Ukraine’s capital this weekend for a “militant black metal” music festival that experts say has become a networking hub in the international neo-Nazi scene.

Asgardsrei, which will be held Saturday and Sunday in Kyiv’s Bingo Club, bills itself online as a black metal festival that has “grown into the largest (and certainly the most radical)” in the region.

“2 days, 14 bands, 1,500 places, 0 tolerance,” its website reads.

Researchers say the festival is a showcase for the explicitly neo-Nazi musical genre known as “national Socialist black metal,” or NSBM. The lineup features acts with violent anti-Semitic lyrics, referencing the Holocaust and swastikas, and featuring anti-Jewish slurs. One of the bands, Stutthof, is named after a Nazi concentration camp, while another, the French band Seigneur Voland, has a track titled “Quand les Svastikas étoilaient le Ciel” (“When Swastikas Light Up the Sky”).

Another act, the Greek band Wodulf, has a track with the lyrics: “Standards of Aryan might unfurl in triumph / Immortal loyalty to the swastika.” Footage from last year’s festival shows members of the audience widely giving the Nazi salute during performances.

“The organizers have been very clever in connecting almost the complete European neo-Nazi scene.”

Far-right experts say the festival, now in its fifth year in Kyiv, has become an important networking hub for the transnational white supremacy movement. The festival was organized by individuals linked to Ukraine’s powerful far-right Azov movement, the ultranationalist group that played a major role in the revolution and the war against Russian-backed separatists in the east. It also includes a mixed-martial arts “fight night” by an Azov-affiliated fight club on Friday night.

The festival has previously drawn extremists from groups including the U.S.-based neo-Nazi organization Atomwaffen Division, Germany’s The Third Path party, and Italy’s neofascist CasaPound.

“It’s established itself as the major festival of the national Socialist black metal scene,” said Thorsten Hindrichs, a musicologist at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz who specializes in far-right music subcultures.

He told VICE News that the festival provided an important point of contact for disparate far-right groups in their project “to build a pan-European community of right-wing extremists.”

“The organizers have been very clever in connecting almost the complete European neo-Nazi scene,” Hindrichs added.

Mollie Saltskog, an intelligence analyst at strategic consultancy firm The Soufan Group, said that festival organizers had boasted last year that they had “almost a thousand foreigners” at the event. Among them were members of Atomwaffen Division, including the leader of the group’s Washington State cell, Kaleb James Cole, who spent 18 days in Ukraine as part of 25-day trip through Europe.

“It’s likely that many prominent figures within the transnational white supremacy movement, both in and outside of Ukraine, will participate in the concert and surrounding activities this weekend in Kyiv,” Saltskog told VICE News.

“It’s an opportune moment for members of the transnational movement to meet up, network, forge international connections, and exchange tactics and experiences to bring back home to their own ‘fight.’” Saltskog continued.

Ahead of last year’s festival, she said, Azov had hosted an international conference of far-right ideologues, where they discussed topics such as “Nordic Paganism as Metaphysics.”

Hindrichs said Kyiv had become a “safe space” where events like Asgardsrei could take place without disruption from authorities or protesters. He said the festival’s growing importance on the international far-right scene meant it warranted closer attention from Western security services to monitor the contacts their extremists were potentially making in Kyiv.

“There’s horrifying things going on there,” he said. “It would be a good idea to try to stop people attending.”

A global hub

According to Haaretz, Asgardsrei was founded by Russian neo-Nazi Alexey Levkin, a far-right dissident who came to Ukraine in 2014 to support Azov, which has since actively forged links with like-minded groups elsewhere.

Levkin describes himself as an ideologist “who gives lectures in culture, history, and contemporary political thought” to National Militia — the paramilitary street wing of the sprawling Azov movement, which also has a regiment incorporated into Ukraine’s national army, as well as its own political party, National Corps.

As well as fronting his own band, M8L8TH, which will be performing at Asgardsrei, Levkin is also a key member in Wotanjugend — a Ukraine-based neo-Nazi group that has promoted a Russian-language translation of the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto. Saltskog said Wotanjugend was “originally established in Russia, but uses Ukraine as a base to operate and spread its neo-Nazi ideology and message of hate, under what appears to be the patronage of Azov.”

Levkin told VICE News that “only two or three bands on the line-up could really be considered NSBM” acts — including his own act, M8L8TH.

Levkin denied the festival had become a networking hub for the far-right and explained it was “first and foremost about breaking … taboos.”

“We respect any artists who dare to truly challenge the dominant narrative of the contemporary Western society,” he said.

And when asked if he considered himself a national socialist, he replied: “Yes, sure!”

Researchers said the event highlighted the way Ukraine, through the influence of Azov and affiliated far-right movements, has emerged as a global hub for right-wing extremists since the outbreak of war. In recent years, events like Asgardsrei have drawn foreign radicals to Ukraine to network with Azov-affiliated extremists, where they have documented their presence at far-right subcultural events like concerts and MMA tournaments on social media.

Meanwhile, Azov has pursued an outreach program to cultivate links with far-right groups internationally. Olena Semenyaka, international secretary for Azov’s political party who has strong ties to Levkin, traveled to meet contacts in Germany, Sweden, Italy, Croatia, and Portugal in the past year.

Last week, a far-right Ukrainian group even turned up on the frontlines of the Hong Kong protests, which sparked concerns they could be attempting to learn lessons from the pro-democracy demonstrations to use in violent street protests at home.

New Estimate: 72,000 USA Births Annually to Tourists, Foreign Students and Other Visitors (CIS)

Bit of an overly simple methodology to use given that it assumes similar behaviours and natality rates between groups. Much more comfortable on the Canadian data despite its limitations, available from CIHI:

Two new analyses by the Center for Immigration Studies estimate that there are 39,000 births a year to foreign students, guest workers and others on long-term temporary visa, plus an additional 33,000 births annually to tourists – 72,000 in total. Those born to these “non-immigrants,” as the government refers to them, are awarded U.S. citizenship because they were born in United States and not because a parent was a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holders). These births are in addition to the nearly 300,000 births each year to illegal immigrants.

Our analysis does not address the controversial question of whether the U.S. Constitution actually requires “birthright citizenship,” as it is often called, to anyone born in the United States regardless of the parents’ immigration status. Rather, our estimates inform that discussion by estimating the scale of births to non-immigrants, which is one part of the birthright citizenship controversy that is seldom considered.

“Our analysis makes clear that the number of children born to visitors is not trivial; and over time the numbers are substantial,” said Steven Camarota, the report’s lead author and the Center’s Director of Research. “It seems doubtful that the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment could have anticipated that tens of thousands of people each year would automatically be granted citizenship simply because their parents were on a temporary visit to the United States at the time of their birth.”

Births to Long-Term Temporary Visitors

  • The government estimates that in 2016 there were 800,000 women age 18 to 44 in the country on long-term non-immigrant visas, primarily foreign students, guest workers, and exchange visitors.
  • Based on a comparable population of women in Census Bureau data, we estimate there are 49 births per thousand to these women for a total of 39,000 births annually or 390,000 each decade.
  • The birth rate for non-immigrants aged 18-44 is relatively low compared to the 77 births per-thousand for immigrant women generally. However the total number of births to temporary visitors is still large because so many foreign students, guest workers and exchange visitors have been allowed into the country.
  • We estimate that at least 90 percent of the fathers of children born to non-immigrant women were not U.S. citizens, almost all them on temporary visa themselves or illegal immigrants. This means at least 35,000 children were born to a non-immigrant mother and were awarded U.S. citizenship at birth solely because they were born on U.S. soil and not because their parents were citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders).

Birth Tourism

  • Many news stories in recent years have focused on “birth tourism,” which describes the phenomenon of pregnant women coming to America shortly before their due dates so their children are born in the United States and are awarded U.S. citizenship.

  • Based on a comparison of birth records and Census Bureau data, we estimate there were 33,000 births to women on tourist visas in the second half of 2016 and the first half of 2017. This translates to perhaps 330,000 such births each decade.

  • While there is significant uncertainty around this number, our new estimate is very similar to our prior estimate for second half of 2011 and first half of 2012.

  • It should be emphasized that the small number of mothers who provide a foreign address on birth documents are probably not birth tourists, as those engaged in birth tourism likely list a U.S. address so they can receive birth certificates and passports before returning to their home countries. These addresses are typically a relative’s or a residence arranged by those “selling” birth tourism services.

Source: 372000 Born to Illegal Aliens and Visitors Every Year, 33000 to ‘Birth Tourists’

Liberal Platform and Mandate Letter Comparison: IRCC and Diversity, Inclusion and Youth

Now that the mandate letters are out, went through the letters for Ministers Mendicino and Chagger, supplementing with other Ministers as needed (e.g., Justice, Public Safety, Innovation). The following table contrasts the platform commitments with the mandate letters, with no major surprises or omissions.

The most striking point was the relatively large number of Minister Chaggar’s commitments, although many are shared with other Ministers.

Hope you find this helpful and welcome any comments.

Liberal Platform and Mandate Letters 2019 – Immigration and Diversity Related

Cabinet, Parliamentary Secretary and CPC critic comparison

Now that the parliamentary secretaries have been announced, I prepared this chart that compares representation of women, visible minorities and Indigenous peoples in cabinet, parliamentary secretary appointments and Conservative critic roles. Given the relatively small size of the Bloc and NDP caucuses, have not bothered to do the same as virtually every member of those two parties plays a critic role.

The Liberal commitment to a gender-balanced cabinet means that women are comparatively over-represented compared to their share of caucus. Conversely, and likely to balance caucus representation, women parliamentary secretaries are comparatively under-represented. The Conservatives, on the other hand, have compensated for their relative lack of women MPs by ensure that one-quarter have the higher profile critic roles.

For visible minorities, with the reference population adjusted to visible minorities who are citizens, the Liberals not only elected more visible minority MPs but have ensured that cabinet and parliamentary secretary representation is comparable to their caucus representation. The Conservatives have also chosen to highlight their visible minority MPs in their critic appointments.

For Indigenous peoples, the Liberals have slight under-representation in cabinet and parliamentary secretary appointments compared to the population and caucus.

Venture Capital Firms Abandoning $4.4 Trillion Opportunity to Invest With Black and Women Entrepreneurs

Interesting, both for the analysis itself and that it was by Morgan Stanley:

Venture capital firms across America are neglecting a $4.4 trillion opportunity to increase their returns by not investing with companies owned by multicultural and women entrepreneurs, a new survey by investment banking giant Morgan Stanley suggests.

The survey, Beyond the VC Funding Gap, found that almost 200 U.S.-based venture capital (VC) firms and diverse entrepreneurs that have raised venture capital triumphantly are not utilizing known ways to boost their exposure or increasing the probability that they will invest in more diverse founders.

A staggering 83% of VCs surveyed reported they are confident they can prioritize investments in companies led by women and multicultural entrepreneurs and maximize returns. Some 60% of VCs stated their portfolios hold too few of these companies. However, just three out of five VCs reported making investments in women and multicultural entrepreneurs is not a firm-wide priority.

Multicultural and women founders cited “not the right fit for me” and “market-related issues” among the top reasons given by VC firms for not investing in their companies.

What is perhaps most startling is the potential amount of money VCs are leaving behind by not investing in the firms. Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, Morgan Stanley reported revenues for women and minority businesses were $2.4 trillion. The firm said had the number of women and minority-owned businesses and a portion of revenues matched their percentage in the labor force—56%—then 2012 gross receipts would have risen to $6.8 trillion, suggesting a missed opportunity of up to $4.4 trillion.

TAKING THE RIGHT APPROACH

“Our research indicates that with a few subtle shifts in their approach, VCs can better position themselves to take advantage of these entrepreneurs and generate superior returns. I hope that this report will help to inspire more firms to re-evaluate their investment strategies so they can capitalize on these opportunities that have historically passed them by,” stated Carla Harris, Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management and Multicultural Client Strategy Group Head.

The NVCA did not specifically address some of the issues pertaining to multicultural and women-owned firms raised in the Morgan Stanley report. But the Washington, DC-based trade group for the nation’s venture capital industry said it is taking several steps to ensure its membership works with and engages with those firms.

The group provided BLACK ENTERPRISE this statement from Maryam Hague, NVCA’s senior vice president of industry advancement:  “Through our VentureForward initiative, NVCA is committed to expanding opportunities for people of all backgrounds to thrive in the venture ecosystem and ensuring everyone who works in this ecosystem has a welcoming professional culture and safe work environment. Some of our activities to date include: NVCA-Deloitte Human Capital Survey – this survey is intended to be an educational resource for venture capital firms to understand how to expand the diversity of their teams and portfolio companies; LP Office Hours in Palo Alto, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. LP Office Hours is an in-person, half-day educational program across the country for professionals of diverse backgrounds to receive advice from and connect with LPs and other GPs, with the goal of learning from LPs about the fundraising process; NVCA hosts workshops and leadership dinners in San Francisco, Boston, and cities around the U.S. interacting with VC leaders in emerging ecosystems; and we have released model HR policies and best practices for attracting and retaining diverse talent. NVCA also offers several educational opportunities to democratize access to education on VC and to support the next generation of VC leaders, e.g. VC University and the Venture Capital Symposium.”

The Morgan Stanley report revealed VC firms not acting on the data on diverse entrepreneurs could be causing them to miss out on returns. That perhaps is potentially being fueled by a lack of awareness of multicultural and women firms in-house. Some 45% of VCs surveyed didn’t know how the returns from companies founded by women compared with their overall portfolio returns. And 53% of VCs were unsure about the returns of firms with multicultural founders.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE MARKETPLACE

Still, Morgan Stanley stated a closer look at the broader marketplace reveals that companies serving diverse customers represent a huge opportunity to capitalize on consumer segments with plenty of room for more growth. For example, the firm reported that women drive 83% of all U.S. consumption, through both buying power and influence. Plus, African Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually in the U.S. And, (Latin) consumers’ buying power is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020.

Concurrently, the Morgan Stanley report revealed VCs have a reputation for taking calculated “expansion risks” to invest in new and emerging markets — frequently with little precedent or data beyond their own due diligence. Of the VCs surveyed, they reported about 20% of the companies in their portfolios that embody expansion risks. Yet, when they bump into companies run by ethnic and women, entrepreneurs, VCs are less likely to educate themselves or take the risk, particularly if they are not familiar with the market or product.

Yet 88% of the VCs surveyed view the experiences of underrepresented entrepreneurs as a competitive advantage when it comes to identifying different problems that need to be solved. Companies typically created by diverse and women entrepreneurs target a market inefficiency or need they’ve identified based on their personal experiences, making them ideal candidates for the specific types of calculated expansion risks VCs should be looking at.

Concurrently, companies started by women and multicultural entrepreneurs have been and continue to be a moneymaking investment opportunity. Morgan Stanley maintains it has been investing directly in startups led by diverse founders for the past three years.

In its survey, Morgan Stanley named some firms that have provided investors hefty returns. Take Sundial Brands, one of the largest black-owned personal care products led by co-founder Richelieu Dennis. It was acquired in 2017 by consumer products giant Unilever. Sundial Brands, a former BLACK ENTERPRISE BE 100s company,  had revenues estimated at $240 million when it was purchased. After the deal, Morgan Stanley valued Sundial Brands at a whopping $1 billion.

In another eye-popping deal, Nigerian native and entrepreneur Chinedu Echeruo sold his HopStop.com pedestrian navigation service to tech powerhouse Apple for an estimated $1 billion in 2013. The transaction was stunning as HopStop had estimated revenues of just $5 million in 2012.

Morgan Stanley’s Harris defines multicultural companies as those with an  African American, Hispanic, Asian or American Indian founder.

She says VCs may have held back historically from investing in such firms because up until now there really wasn’t much evidence they were missing something. However, she says, both the evidence and the number on the size of the opportunity exists currently for them to consider doing so.

“The time is now for people to embrace the conversation if not the debate,” Harris says. “The really big surprise is that even though the multicultural and women firms can provide traditional VCs stellar or equal returns (as their peers) that they’re not investing with them for some reason,” she says.

REPRESENTATION MATTERS

Another factor that perhaps is contributing to the funding gap is a lack of diversity at VC firms.

The lack of diversity among VC firms perhaps is adding to the funding gap. The survey showed among VCs who have hired more diverse fund managers, LPs, partners or board members, 71% say it is a “very effective” way to increase the diversity of companies and founders they invest in. Some two-thirds of multicultural founders reported that they have had more success with diverse VC firms. But, only 11% of entrepreneurs have teamed up with VC firms that are diverse when it comes to gender and race.

“The fact that they (VC firms) don’t have more diversity at the table certainly limits their understanding of some of these industries,” Harris says. “Diversity would make it a lot easier to do so.”

Harris says the encouraging news is that if you look at the private equity industry some of the nation’s largest institutional investors such as CalPERS or the New York State Common Fund are now asking their investment partners about their diversity practices. She says the questions include what does diversity in your firm look like, how many businesses of color did you look at and how many multicultural firms do you have in your pipeline for partnership? Harris is confident the actions may drive VC firms to make the shift of investing with diverse and women firms along with existing partners. “Once you see some of the outside companies start to have some success, I think it’s going to feed on itself,” she says.

Morgan Stanley offered some tips on how VC firms can tap into what the firm calls a multitrillion-dollar market by working with diverse firms. Here is a condensed version of those tips:

REDEFINE HOW YOU THINK ABOUT “FIT” AND EXPANSION RISK FOR YOUR PORTFOLIO

Adjust your definition of “expansion risk” to include companies founded and led by women and multicultural entrepreneurs. This can help expand your networking efforts among diverse entrepreneurs and help you better understand the opportunities they present.

Consider diverse entrepreneurs are more seasoned players with lower risk. When diverse entrepreneurs get to pitch VCs, they’ve already often demonstrated a stronger proof of concept, management expertise, and success metrics when compared with their white, male counterparts.

Women and multicultural entrepreneurs represent an emerging market in America, much like the internet was 20 years ago or cloud-computing a decade ago. Along with pursuing new markets and products, consider investing in the new perspectives that diverse entrepreneurs offer and the markets they serve.

DIVERSIFY

Having more women and multicultural professionals at your fund is one of the most effective strategies for increasing investments in diverse founders.

By looking inward at your hiring and retention practices and prioritizing diversity, you can improve the delivery of results for your limited partners. The traditional sources for entry-level VC talent—top business schools—have large enough pools of women and multicultural graduates to fill the need.

In addition to helping VC firms source more diverse entrepreneurs and see market opportunity more clearly, firm diversity also decreases overall risk: The more diverse perspectives VCs have, the more likely they are to recognize opportunities and identify potential pitfalls.

HOLD YOUR FIRM ACCOUNTABLE AND BE A FIRST MOVER—INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS CAN HELP

Develop a comprehensive strategy and make it public. Share data about your internal and portfolio diversity. Establishing goals for investing in more women and multicultural entrepreneurs can be an effective strategy for VCs to show their investors their commitment to effecting change; according to our survey, 86% of VCs agree that such goals would benefit themselves and their LPs.

Source: Venture Capital Firms Abandoning $4.4 Trillion Opportunity to Invest With Black and Women Entrepreneurs

Josephine Mathias: Racism still exists on campuses, but don’t exaggerate the problem

Clearly, less serious and less nuanced than the CRRF/Environics Institute study or other related surveys such as the GSS or police-reported hate crimes, which provide information regarding the relative seriousness or degree of racist behaviour.

I have no problem with a “believing stance” as long as it provides some clarity as to the type and degree of racist behaviour. The Laurier report, while having considerable narrative and considerable data on respondents and where incidents took place, does not, unless I missed it, have a data table that would indicate the relative frequency of minor (e.g., some microagressions) and major (e.g, violence or threats of violence) racism:

Wilfrid Laurier University is in hot water over a recent race-related study. According to the survey, which polled minority students, upwards of 70 per cent of respondents experienced racism on WLU’s campus.

If 70 per cent sounds hyperbolic, that’s because it has to be. The problem with this study — and many others that include self-reported data — is that it didn’t define what constitutes racism. The study states at the outset: “This study takes a believing stance; therefore, if participants understand their experiences as racism, then we do not question the validity of their lived experiences.”

In other words, anything goes.

There is no doubt that individual acts, as well as systemic instances of racism, continue to exist on some Canadian campuses. But, in today’s day and age and for the purposes of a “supposed” academic study, to leave the definition of the term “racism” open to interpretation is to render it meaningless.

Over the past few decades, academics — particularly in the field of sociology — have tried to redefine the term racism. “Discrimination based on skin colour” became “prejudice plus social/economic power” in academia, and this reinterpretation of the term led many social activists to simply develop their own wishy-washy definitions. Today, many people consider white people having dreadlocks racist; wearing Nigerian — or some other African country-themed attire racist; hell, even not liking a particular country’s food is racist now, too.

So, when we consider the WLU 70 per cent figure, what does it really mean? Does it mean 70 per cent of minority students have been radicalized by a professor or other university official while attending class? Or, is it more likely a fair portion of this 70 per cent overheard a white dude in the cafeteria saying “Indian food is icky?” The solution to the former scenario is a formal reprimand of the official in question. The solution to the latter, is to ignore Brad and move on with your day.

The thing that bugs me most about these studies is that they paint this false picture of what life is like for minority students on campuses. To say that 70 per cent of minority students experience racism, is to say that WLU is closer to Alabama 1950 than it is to Southern Ontario 2019. To leave
the definition of racism so broad, but then to report the study’s headline with the 70 per cent figure. just drums up outrage, distrust and fear among minority students — if you didn’t see racism on campus before, you certainly will be inclined to now.

What good does perpetuating this kind of narrative do? Racism does exist on campus, there’s no doubt about that, and I’m sure many of the self-reported stories would constitute legitimate acts of discrimination or other-ing of students based on their race.

The problem is that we can’t find solutions to racism on campus if racism can be anything. And if we make actual racism impossible to define and categorize, we can’t address the real problem. If everything’s racist, nothing can be singled out.

Today, legitimate instances of discrimination don’t happen nearly as often as this study would have us believe. We can and should identify and reprimand the bad actors — be they other students, professors, or university officials — but we shouldn’t inflate the amount of racism on campus just to get the point across.

Source: Josephine Mathias: Racism still exists on campuses, but don’t exaggerate the problem

Nuances of racism in South Korean schools revealed

Another country grappling with integration and acceptance:

An ADI researcher is calling for a rethink of multicultural education policies and nationalism in South Korea.

Alfred Deakin Institute’s DECRA Fellow, Dr. Jessica Walton, has urged policy makers in South Korea to rethink their multicultural educational policies so children with a multi-ethnic background feel more accepted at school.

She argues that the issue is exacerbated by the way the country promotes its national identity.

Dr. Walton’s research is revealed in a chapter of the forthcoming book, “Interrogating belonging for in schools,” edited by Professor Christine Halse, Conjoint Professor with Deakin’s Faculty of Arts and Education.

In the chapter, “‘I am Korean’: Contested belonging in a ‘multicultural’ Korea,” Dr. Walton outlines the findings of her research into the friendships and relationships between Korean primary school children with mono-ethnic and multi-.

All the children could speak Korean fluently and had Korean names.

“The main difference that distinguished the multi-ethnic students from their peers was based on hierarchies of belonging, including whether or not they ‘looked Korean’, the country where their parents were from, and their racialised ,” Dr. Walton said.

“As one of the students explained to me, ‘If it doesn’t show that you are from a different culture it is okay, but if it shows, those kids get bullied a lot and have a difficult time becoming friends with others’.”

Dr. Walton said fear of potential exclusion affected whether the children allowed others to know about their backgrounds, even if they were comfortable having a parent who was not Korean.

“At school, children’s relationships are characterised by ‘uri’, which can be described as a sense of togetherness or we-ness,” she explained.

“‘Uri’ determines how children play and who with. For instance, during the class breaks and during lunch, mono-ethnic children had noticeably less interaction with multi-ethnic children.

“Mono-ethnic children played together and, if they wanted to be alone, their friends checked to make sure they were fine being alone, whereas multi-ethnic children who were marked as ‘different’ based on their tended to be alone.”

Dr. Walton said that, in addition to multi-ethnic with darker skin who were more severely excluded, there was another child with lighter skin who was regularly on the periphery.

“This ‘s mother was from Russia, but Russia is not considered an ideal country, compared with having a lighter skin colour from a parent from the United States or a Western European country, such as Germany,” she said.

“The student’s interest in computers, rather than sport, accentuated his isolation and he had previously moved schools because he was being bullied.”

Dr. Walton said the student made considerable attempts to include himself in other students’ games and tried to interact with them, laughing at their jokes.

“He and another boy developed a friendship while working on a project together and he described this boy as a friend. He didn’t consider their friendship close.

“When asked who his best friend was, he said it was his cat.”

As part of the research, the students were given disposable cameras and asked to take photos of the people, places and things that surrounded and were important to them.

The research also explored the students’ friendship groups, their interests, hobbies, things they liked, worries, dreams, friends and family.

Dr. Walton said compared to the Korean mono-ethnic students, who took many pictures of friends, the isolated Korean multi-ethnic students, such as the Russian Korean student, took photos of themselves and objects they enjoyed playing with.

Despite being treated as the “other” at school, the multi-ethnic students felt they were Korean, stressing they had been born in the country, Dr. Walton said.

Their sense of Korean-ness was heightened by travel to their other parent’s country of origin.

“These students have achieved the government’s policy for multicultural assimilation. They speak the language fluently, were born and raised in Korea and understand the cultural nuances, yet they don’t ‘belong’,” Dr. Walton said.

“Significantly, they assert their Korean identity and challenge the parameters by which ‘Korean-ness’ is used to include and exclude.

“They do not need to prove their nationality, but what their assertion points to is the need for a broader conceptualisation at a policy level of Korean identity; one which emphasises what they have in common, rather than one based on racialised features and whether they look Korean.”

Source: Nuances of racism in South Korean schools revealed