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OPINION

No Boys Allowed? New CyberStart Canada Program Will Cater Only to Girls and Non-Binary Students

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Robin Rayne

The pronounced shortage of qualified cybersecurity personnel is a problem that the entire world is facing, and many countries are instituting new initiatives to attempt to close the workforce shortage gap as quickly as possible.

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In the United States, the Biden administration announced a multi-agency program that create will hundreds of security-based registered apprenticeship programs earlier this summer. The US government hopes that the initiative will begin to help to address the critical lack of IT staffing in both the public and private sectors. The program will not come cheap, however, as its $500 million price tag is being covered by the United States Commerce Department program known as the Good Jobs Challenge.

But the American left, which is seemingly more focused on the phony “wokeness” movement, has decided that their concentration within this program should center around recruitment of specifically “young people, women, and minorities,” in hopes that they become the “leaders of the next generation of cybersecurity professionals,” curiously omitting one of the largest demographic groups in the United States – white men. 

United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who did not beat around the bush on the intention of the program to value diversity over merit, even went as far as to say of the program, “We’re not going to find 700,000 people if we’re only looking for white men.”

It is a disturbing sign of the times that someone who ranks as high as Raimondo would so casually make such a statement. And it displays the reality detachment that currently is afflicting the American left. Long gone is the concept of meritocracy, replaced with an obsession with artificially created diversity. This plays into the hands of cybercriminals as new threats ranging from browser hijackers to mac malware multiply to the tune of billions of dollars in profits yearly.

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Seemingly on cue, Canadian liberals have decided to follow America’s lead on creating their new cyber initiative that reeks with overtones of overt anti-male discrimination, as Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, which is Toronto Metropolitan University's National Centre for “training, innovation, and collaboration in cybersecurity,” has recently announced a new program called CyberStart Canada.

The program, which is funded by Canadian taxpayers via Public Safety Canada's Cyber Security Cooperation Program, will initially provide services and education to 700 girls and non-binary students from Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia in 2022-23 in what is being described as a “gamified environment,” and then throughout Canada the following year.

According to the eligibility requirements listed on the program’s website, “Priority in 2022 will be given to students in Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia who self-identify as girls or non-binary. Students must be over the age of 13 to participate.”

"In addition to sparking interest in cybersecurity as a career, CyberStart Canada will focus on educating young women and girls on topics such as cyber respect and kindness, safe communication, and digital citizenship," according to Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety. "CyberStart Canada will also be a key resource for teachers and educators, allowing them to bring cybersecurity into and outside of their classrooms, without needing any prior knowledge of cybersecurity or computer science."

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The question here should be, “why is the Canadian government funding a cyber program that is intentionally discriminant against male students?” There are already youth-themed cyber programs in Canada that cater to male, female, and non-binary students. Programs like HackStudent and CyberTitan already provide a wealth of education, challenges, and opportunities for young Canadians across all demographical classifications. Why is a new publicly funded program that is long on key innovation, intentionally and overtly excluding young Canadian boys from its ranks?

Sounds disturbingly similar to the sentiments expressed by US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, doesn’t it?

Public Safety Canada, which claims a mandate to keep all Canadians, not just females and those that identify as non-binary, safe from risks that include crime and terrorism, including cyber-related instances of such, has a responsibility to see that all Canadians have access to the latest education and training programs related to the critical fields of the present and future.

Especially as critical Canadian infrastructure and organizations in both the public and private sectors are constantly being threatened by increasingly brazen ransomware gangs as well as state-sponsored advanced persistent threat groups (APTs).

With the constant threats being posed by cyber powers like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, only expected to continue to quickly grow over the next several years, the prevalent attitude surrounding the Canadian government and academia should be “all hands on deck” regarding the training of the next generation of security professionals. Because to put it bluntly, the digital realm of 1’s and 0’s cares little about the world of X and Y gender determination. 

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Julio Rivera is a business and political strategist, the Editorial Director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist. His writing, which is focused on cybersecurity and politics, has been published by numerous websites and he is regularly seen on National and International news programming.

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