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378 LITTERS IN CANADA 1997 The vehicle for this exploration is four Supreme Court of Canada decisions, dating from 1914 to 1955, which Walker proposes as keys to unlocking the cultural sensibilities about race as well as markers of their transformation over time. Walker devotes some discussion to the turn towards interpretation in contemporary historiography and the analysis of law as culture. Adopting Geertzian 'thick description' as method, he explores the social context beneath the case reports and the shifting roles played by social groups such as trade unions. Walker chose welL as these four cases disclose a panoply of approaches to race regulation in the era prior to human rights legislation and the Charter. Immigration policy, whether through restrictions or outright exclusions, has always been fundamental to the control of race in Canada. It was employed relentlessly against the Chinese, as the discussion around the first case, Quong Wing v The King, reveals, and it remained effective well into the 1950s when Harry Singh, an East Indian from Trinidad, was deported after the court found no jurisdiction to review discriminatory racial classifications. Challenges to constitutional powers provided one avenue of potential redress for victims, although Quong Wing's attempt to invalidate the employment restrictions to which the Chinese were subject ultimately proved futile. Where the concept of the alien was inapplicable and exclusion unavailable, state-backed entitlements to engage in discrimination under the aegis of property and contract rights were employed. The famed case of Christie v York charts the use of freedom of contract in sustaining a Montreal tavem's right to exclude an African-Canadian patron, while the case of Noble and Wolf vAlley, the sole success among the four from the point of view of racial minorities, deals with restrictive covenants limiting the alienation of property. Notwithstanding the outcomes of these cases, part of Walker's project is to unsettle the idea that these failures were inevitable. Law played a role in both producing and reflecting racial ideology. The common law itself provided doctrines and principles which racialized groups could use to fight back. In short, the cases are presented as moments at which the concept of race itself was at stake. (KERRY RirrrcH) Ken Collier. After the Welfare State New Star Books. viii, 200. $2o.oo Ken Collier's theme is the impending end of the national state. To forecast the state's demise, one must first specify what a state is. Our most familiar state-concepts derive either from Aristotle's polis, involving an ethical community with a shared perception of justice and injustice; from the liberal ideal of a minimal state, securing individual liberty by enforcing market rules of property and contract; or from Marx's teaching that the state is an instrument of oppression in class-divided society. HUMANITIES 379 Following the Second World War, the welfare state appeared briefly to transcend these competingtraditions. A democratic and redistributive state undertook to achieve Aristotelian standards of community and justice, to preserve individual liberties through market-stabilizing macro-economic policies, and thus to avert the Marxian threat of crises, class struggle, and revolution. Ken Collier regards the welfare state as the final manifestation of the national state prior to globalization. As a Marxist, he claims that 'The state is partisan. It works in favor of the dominant class in capitalism.' But he adds that capitalist interests can often be promoted through public expenditures that subsidize production costs (health care, education, social security) while also moderating economic fluctuations. The role of the state is 'to make possible the smooth functioning of the economy.' When production capital prevails, the welfare state attempts to regulate class struggle by socializing the costs of reproducing labour power. But when finance capital leads to accelerating globalization, Collier concludes that the state becomes redundant. As the political form of an economic process, the state is displaced when globalizing capital becomes indifferent to political boundaries and hostile to sovereignty. Collier interprets the neoconservative project of privatizing state functions as a consequence of globalization. The winners in this process are capitalists, who oppose public expenditures on the grounds that taxation impairs competitiveness; the losers are workers, women, aboriginals, the poor, and the disabled...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 378-380
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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