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American and Canadian Perspectives on Affirmative Action: A Response to the Fraser Institute

Paula Chegwidden and Wendy R. Katz
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 2, No. 3, Women and Work (Aug., 1983), pp. 191-202
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25071398
Page Count: 12
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American and Canadian Perspectives on Affirmative Action: A Response to the Fraser Institute
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Abstract

The publication of the Fraser Institute's Discrimination, Affirmative Action, and Equal Opportunity offers an occasion to review some of the practical and philosophical issues raised by affirmative action policy. Canadian affirmative action programs derive from the American context, which is here reviewed, but do not have the legal recourse available in the American system. Perhaps as a consequence, most Canadian programs have been carried out by governments acting in their role as employers. The Canadian Union of Public Employees has been especially active in developing union perspectives on affirmative action programs, which do raise special concerns for organized labour. Affirmative action raises several basic questions: the importance of proportionality, merit, compensation and role models in determining who is entitled to opportunities in our society. Differences between the Fraser Institute's attitude about affirmative action and attitudes of other social groups, such as the labour movement, lie in their very different assumptions about what constitutes a free society.

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