Taxation; Canada

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Special Issue Article


The Canadian tax system underwent fundamental reform in the late 1980s. The principal effect of this reform has been to disable the tax system as an effective policy instrument for the redistribution of income. The fact that these reforms were an integral part of the larger neoconservative agenda to roll back the economic borders of the state and shift more power from the public to the private sector, is widely acknowledged. This paper simply illustrates how pervasively neoconservative ideology has influenced tax policy analysis. Every traditional objective of the tax system (to assist in reallocating resources, stabilizing the economy, and redistributing income), and every traditional criteria used to evaluate the tax system (equity, neutrality, and simplicity) has been reinterpreted in light of neoconservative doctrine. The changes to the tax system that have been justified by reference to this new orthodoxy have, in the main, accommodated only the rich and economically powerful.

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