During an interview yesterday on ABC's This Week, John McCain gave a boost to the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative which is on the ballot in November. When asked about the ballot measure, McCain indicated his support stating that he has "always opposed quotas."
If passed, the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative would prohibit state government bodies from discriminating or yielding preferential treatment in the areas of education, employment and contracting on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin and gender. Ward Connerly, who is spearheading the initiative, also successfully had a similar measure passed in Michigan in 2006.
Years ago, while still living in Canada, I was an active supporter of affirmative action (or employment equity as it was called there). In fact, I testified in favor of employment equity in front of a legislative standing committee when the NDP government in Ontario introduced it in 1993. I also testified in front of a legislative standing committee when the succeeding Conservative government did away with it in 1995.
In the intervening years, however, I have come to see affirmative action/employment equity as measures that sell short the abilities of the very people they are seeking to help. With that in mind, I hope the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative will pass this fall and McCain's statement in support will certainly help.