by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services
NNSL (Feb 12/97) - Hailed as long over due when it was introduced in 1989, affirmative action has failed to significantly increase the number of native and long time northerner managers in government.
According to 1994 statistics, the most recent available, Dene, Inuit and Metis make up only 11.5 per cent of managers in the public service.
That's far short of the government's target of 51 per cent and less than a two per cent increase over 1991. Women in management increased five per cent during the same period, to 25.8 per cent.
The government will release 1995 statistics before the end of this session, said Financial Management Board Secretariat deputy minister Lew Voytilla.
Responding to questions from Yellowknife MLAs Roy Erasmus (left) and Seamus Henry Monday, Premier Don Morin said deputy ministers are being called to task for the lack of results.
"It's an issue I raised with deputy ministers during my recent performance review process, that it's an issue that will be specifically addressed in June, when I meet with them again," said Morin.
"If I were a deputy minister I would be taking that quite seriously," he added.
Erasmus noted a third of appeals by aboriginal candidates who did not get government jobs last year were upheld.
The issue resurfaced earlier this session, when ordinary members protested the recent hiring of a British Columbia resident to head up the government's community empowerment initiative.
Municipal and community affairs minister Manitok Thompson and the premier said Graham Murchie was hired because he was the best person for the job.
In 1989 Morin, then an ordinary member, was the mover of the motion to adopt the affirmative action policy.
Introducing it, he accused premier Dennis Patterson of dragging his feet on the hiring of aboriginals.
"I'm sure if he tried hard and worked at it and was committed to it, he would be able to find qualified aboriginal people to fill positions such as regional director positions," said Morin.
The government is currently reviewing the policy.