To understand the social contract as a theory explaining how the Aboriginal community has been treated in the last 100 years, it is important to review the history of how the community has interacted with the colonial and post-colonial regimes.
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The foundation of political dispensation and state boundary was rationalized on the radicalized space through the differentiated moral and civic status of the inhabitants. Being part of the minority groups, the Aboriginal community has been subjected to inhuman acts such as political, social, and economic discrimination by the colonial and post-colonial regimes. This means that an engineer carrying out a project in the community must be sensitive to integrate the community within his or her project to guarantee community support and success.
Aboriginal Community Treatment in the last 100 Years
Despite the common fallacy that there is colorless contractarianism within citizenship and role in the Canadian society, the reality is that racial contract has defined the political, decision, and social aspect of the society, as belonging to the white body and any political association is dominated by the incarnated mindset of the white majority rule (McKay, 2000). Therefore, any citizenship policy within the Canadian society founded on the premise of white supremacy, without differencing the racial interests of all groups involved, may not auger well with aspects of gender, race, class, and the current ethnocultural domination by the whites.
The discriminatory liberal models applied in citizenry role and position within Canada do not incorporate inclusive social contract since they are inspired by the desire to dominate on the premise of belonging to the majority race, gender, ethnicity, and class. Unfortunately, the Aboriginal community has found itself as the victim of this power game.
The policies that were used include selective immigration to discriminate against the Aboriginal people and other native communities. To be confirmed as being an insider, one had to conform to the Anglo-Canadian Model. Unfortunately, the Aboriginal community was too proud of their culture that they resisted the external influence and it almost leads to genocide in the hands of the colonizers.
For instance, the 1885 Citizenry Act put a head tax on every indigenous person living in Canada who refused to acknowledge the authority of the colonizer (Martin & Schinzinger, 2010). After realizing that the Aboriginal community was not bulging to the demand, the government enacted another act to ruthlessly restrict any further Aboriginal occupation of restricted regions, which were previously their ancestral lands. Those who dared to go against the act were marked as enemy aliens and disloyal individuals to the Canadian image. As a result, more than 22,000 Canadians of Aboriginal origin were subjected to incarceration, dispossession of private property by the state, and forceful displacement.
The stage for further ‘marginalization’ of the Aboriginal community was reaffirmed in the 1950s and 1960s through the new Department of Citizenship and Immigration and the Royal Commission of Bilingualism and Biculturalism. These commissions cemented the notion that Canadian federalism is formed by an asymmetrical partnership between Canadian French and Canadian British races, excluding many other races such as the Aboriginal community, Canadians of African American, Japanese, Chinese, German, and Ukraine origins among others.
The declaration of Canadian identity as consisting of a bicultural race cemented the notion of some races being more Canadians than others. Although series of efforts had been carried out by governments after the 1960s bicultural declaration, such as the multicultural policy implementation, the previous two-race model continued to dominate the aspects of insider-outsider perspective in viewing the true identity of a Canadian (Perlman & Varma, 2002). As a result, the Aboriginal community was treated with suspicion by the state and were left out of economic and social plans, despite paying equal taxes.
With the advent of the 21st century and the need to promote an ideal economic identity among the Canadians, the immigration laws have become discriminative along the racial line, especially among the Aboriginal people who have been subjected to secondary search before being allowed to settle in any region in Canada. For instance, Aboriginal individuals considered by the state as being highly skilled, self-adequate, and well-educated may easily get a job in Canada than individuals who have low human capital.
This policy only promotes exclusivity in ‘Canadianness’ identify that have been effective in reinforcing and reproducing unequal and poorly skewed racial, gender, class, and ethnic relations in the present Canadian citizenship (Perlman & Varma, 2002). Unfortunately, there are very few such individuals from the Aboriginal community since the previous governments have intentionally sidelined the community from benefits from education, healthcare, and social services.
From the above analysis, it is apparent that Canadian policies on multiculturalism and colonial mentality have continued to define citizenship and discriminate against the Aboriginal community and other minority clans. During the colonial era, exclusionary citizenry strategies were executed to determine Canadian identity based on their gender, class, ethnicity, and race. Besides, the natives, such as the Aboriginal community, were made to feel as being lesser Canadians through forceful eviction, elimination, and later soft forms of discriminatory policies. Despite the general feeling of inclusion in the Canadian identity, the whiteness ideology, Aboriginal issues, race, gender, and ethnicity still determine the degree of Canadian citizenship.
For instance, the political, policy, and social welfare institutions are dominated by the two races that make policies and decisions on behalf of everyone. Although efforts have been made by government regimes to reverse this trend, little has been achieved since the supremacy dominance has been internalized by better economic, social, and political associations within the two dominating races (McKay, 2000). Despite having been original natives of Canadian society, the Aboriginal community has been worst affected by these exclusivity approaches to citizenship in pursuing their Canadian identity. This unfortunate state has made the Aboriginal community very bitter and untrusting of the government or any outsider that might be interested in the community.
The Isolation History and its Impacts the Engineering Project within the Community
As the consultant executing a project within the Aboriginal community, I should balance the contrary extreme alternative to maintain beneficial friendship by assuming a compromising ground for special actions. It means that I can only declare the project ‘good’ after reviewing consistency in practicing goodness and virtual overabundance in handling competing interests and Aboriginal concerns.
Therefore, I have to apply ethical reasoning in choosing the best way to partner with the community to develop trust and acceptance of the project. Kant is categorical on subjective (conditional) end as occurring from incentives that induce the orientation towards will in an individual (Hyldgaard, 2012). As a result, the subjective end is characterized by personal inclinations about the will with the results of conditional response to an occurrence.
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The subjective end is a product of experience in exercising goodwill. Basically, the subjective end in the case of handling an engineering project within the Aboriginal community is inspired by the desire to fit into a certain situation based on the same experience in the past and make the community comfortable (Baura, 2006). On the other hand, the objective end (unconditional) is inspired by the need to apply practical reasoning in exercising goodwill by bringing the community leaders on board to ensure that the project is embraced in totality. The motive of the objective end is the underlying validity of the being that has to be rational to achieve this state.
In the case of the Aboriginal community, it is important to give then assurance of minimal interference with their culture for them to support and permit the execution of a project. As a precautionary measure, I should be sensitive to the demands of the community, their suggestions, and modify the project to fit within their circumstances.
To the ethical principle of empathy, which is based on the argument that the common special condition of inner impulse is responsible for coordinating the cognitive duty of appeasing neediness to distressed persons who are nearby and genuinely need assistance, there is an urgent need to address the poor working conditions of the Aboriginal community by directly engaging them in any project within their community. This can be achieved through employing the members of the community in simple manual assignments within an engineering project to make feel like part of community development (Hyldgaard, 2012).
Basically, the only condition that may limit the ability to help is if the results would produce a bad thing (Baura, 2006). Since the basic moral principles function on the elements of equality, impartiality, and universality, it is impractical to apply discrimination when working within the Aboriginal community since this might compromise project execution.
Baura, G. (2006). Engineering ethics: An industrial perspective. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Hyldgaard, C. (2012). Engineering, development and philosophy: American, Chinese and European perspectives. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
Martin, M. W., & Schinzinger, R. (2010). Introduction to engineering ethics. New York.
McKay, I. (2000). The liberal order framework: A prospectus for a reconnaissance of Canadian history. The Canadian Historical Review, 81(4), 617-634.
Perlman, B., & Varma, R. (2002). Improving ethical engineering practice. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 21(1), 40-48.