Inclusion unaffordable? 3

The Ministry of Children and family Affairs of Latvia, a chronically absurd institution born out of the political ambitions of the First Party, is working on new Integration Guidelines. Again. Before its demise, the late Secretariat of the Minister for Social Integration had conducted public discussions of the previous Guidelines, and seemed set to submit those Guidelines for government approval. The Guidelines themselves left something to be desired but were, on the whole, a workable basis for some sort of policy. Their authors had been, on the whole, mindful of the need for diversity mainstreaming (without using the word). They even proposed tentative measures to increase the presence of ethnic minorities in public administration (a leap in political thinking for Latvia).

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Alas, now those guidelines are discarded - as were the previous ones, created by a working group that had been careless (or naive) enough to include the word 'multiculturalism' twice in the project. The first Guidelines were duly ostracised by the nationalist newspaper Latvijas Avize and by the former Minister of Culture Helena Demakova, a lady generally prone to categorical rejection of concepts she did not bother to understand. And now, also the second project of the Guidelines, created by private consultants for the now defunct Secretariat, have been rejected for some reason (no serious explanation of that given to public - why?).

And here we are, in the midst of budget cuts and econimic decline, with a bunch of officials transplanted from the late Secretariat of Integration to the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs writing the third version of the Integration Guidelines. Doing that in their working time paid for by the taxpayers. At a moment when it is absolutely clear that there will be no funds in the budget to implement whatever gidelines they write - as there is no money to implement the already existing Programme for Tolerance (a weak substitute for anti-discrimination policy).

Meanwhile, funds available from the EU for Latvia for the integration of third country citizens and for the integration of refugees lie unrequested due to the lack of meagre government co-funding. Meanwhile, a dozen or so capable NGOs and government agencies are waiting for a chance to implement in practice integration measures of which they have much better understanding than the potential authors of the new Guidelines. Meanwhile, those ministry officials' salaries, even after the ubiquetous 20% cut across the public sector, would probably add up to more than is needed for government co-funding for the EU integration funds. At the moment, however, it seems that REAL integration measures, even when funded 75% by the EU, are unaffordable for Latvia. Or is inclusion itself unaffordable?

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laikam ne tā..... 10.03.2009 17:36
From the very beginning of this kind of institution, even before it was ministry, it has been chaired by Bashtiks (LPP).

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laikam tā..... 10.03.2009 13:48
"The Ministry of Children and family Affairs of Latvia, a chronically absurd institution born out of the political ambitions of the First Party/..../"

I didn't save the reference, but I believe the ministry was created by the Repše administration as the result of international (i.e., UN) pressure prior to 2002 to address neglected issues regarding children's welfare in LV.

Which is worse: ascribing the ministry to LPP? Or admitting that international agencies were more concerned about internal issues than LV's politicians?

Undeniably, your blog entry is about something other than the children. But also undeniably,
the children in LV got the short end of the stick.

Žēl.

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Andris 10.03.2009 13:44
Before we can speak of co-funding of inclusion programs, there should be declared policy of what types of immigrants (if any) we want to see here in Latvia. Not many of us would be excited about using public funds to overindulge illegal immigrants - such as the 7 infamous Somalis that arrived in 2006.

>>> Alas, now those guidelines are discarded - as were the previous ones, created by a working group that had been careless (or naive) enough to include the word 'multiculturalism' twice in the project.
=====
Such misguided activism by government bureaucrats rightly draws fire from all sides. There is nothing wrong with adopting certain Western policies that have been proven successful (and occasionally, even some of those that have failed - if we cannot learn from others mistakes). But there is no justification, if some people on government payroll find it amusing to force discussions about some non-issues that have been discussed in Western countries a thousand times over. Can we force everyone to use sterile PC language that does not offend even those anti-racist or feminist "watchdogs" that WANT to be offended? Does the multicultural discourse help to "empower" immigrant communities? Perhaps it was interesting 20 years ago. During crisis these non-issueas are not even funny anymore.

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