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Discursive Deficits: A Feminist Perspective on the Power of Technical Knowledge in Fiscal Law and Policy*

  • Lisa Philipps (a1)

Decisions about taxation and government spending have great political significance: they affect the distribution of income and wealth and the nature and degree of class, gender and other social inequalities. However, tax and budgetary issues are frequently constructed as technical matters that can be resolved rationally according to economic, mathematical or other ostensibly neutral principles. The author examines the debate around budget deficits and recent sex equality challenges to the income tax system, and argues that both illustrate how technical discourses tend to deny the normative content of fiscal law and policy and to disqualify political opposition to the prevailing fiscal order as irrational, ideological and inexpert. The paper concludes by examining the discursive strategies of feminists and others interested in fiscal change. The author considers how feminists might respond to, and even harness, the power of technical knowledges in struggling for tax and expenditure reforms while also challenging the oppressive features and depoliticizing tendencies of such discourses.

Les mesures fiscales et les décisions relatives aux dépenses publiques revêtent une grande importance: elles touchent la distribution du revenu et des richesses ainsi que la nature et l'étendue des inégalités d'ordre social. Toutefois, les questions d'ordres fiscal et budgétaire sont le plus souvent traitées comme des questions techniques qui commandent des solutions rationnelles reposant sur des principes économiques, mathématiques ou, du moins, en apparence neutres. Dans le présent article, l'auteure fait état du débat sur la question du déficit budgétaire et des récentes tentatives visant à dénoncer les inégalités de sexe existant dans le système fiscal; selon elle, cette polémique illustre la façon dont le jargon technique tend à masquer le contenu normatif de la politique et de la loi fiscales et à contrer toute forme d'opposition à l'ordre fiscal établi en la taxant d'irrationnelle, idéologique et simpliste. L'auteure conclut en faisant l'étude des stratégies discursives des groupes féministes et d'autres groupes visant le changement de la politique fiscale. Elle y suggère des méthodes permettant aux féministes de contrer à leur tour, sinon de neutraliser, le pouvoir du savoir technique afin d'obtenir les réformes fiscales et budgétaires voulues et remettre en question l'arbitraire et la tendance à la dépolitisation d'un tel jargon.

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I wish to acknowledge the helpful feedback I received on earlier versions of this paper from Neil Brooks, Judith Grbich, Marlee Kline, Greg Levine, Martha Minow, Nancy Staudt, Kathy Teghtsoonian, Mark de Weerdt, Margot Young, participants in the Critical Tax Theory Workshop held at SUNY-Buffalo School of Law in September 1995, and journal referees.

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1. In this paper, I use the terms “deficit” and “debt” interchangeably. For clarity, however, it should be noted that a deficit is a shortfall of government revenues in relation to expenditures for any given year. Debt refers to the accumulated stock of outstanding debts owed by a government as a result of financing previous years' budget deficits.

2. R.S.C. 1985, (5th Suppl.), c.l, as am. [hereinafter ITA].

3. [1993] 4 S.C.R. 695 [hereinafter Symes].

4. [1995] 2 S.C.R. 627 [hereinafter Thibaudeau].

5. The term “fiscal policy” refers to the “[expenditure and taxation policies that underlie a government's budget.” McMenemy, See J., The Language of Canadian Politics, rev. ed. (Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 1995).

6. Schumpeter, See J., “The Crisis of the Tax State”, trans. Stolper, W. F. & Musgrave, R. A., in Peacock, A. T., Stolpar, W. F., Turvey, R. & Henderson, E., eds., International Economic Papers, no. 4 (London & New York: Macmillan, 1954) 5.

7. For a thorough and engaging analysis of the regressive elements of the tax system and how they have been exacerbated by tax policy changes since 1988, see Brooks, N., “The Changing Structure of the Canadian Tax System: Accomodating the Rich” [1993] 31 Osgoode Hall L.J. 137. See also Panitch, L., “Beyond the Crisis of the Tax State? From Fair Taxation to Structural Reform” in Maslove, A. M., ed., Fairness in Taxation: Exploring the Principles (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993) 135.

8. ITA, S.117(2).

9. For a study of the incidence of personal tax expenditures by income bracket, see Hilaire, F. St., For Whom the Tax Breaks, vol. 2, no 2 (Institute for Research on Public Policy, 1996). A list of tax expenditures and their cost in foregone revenue is available in Government of Canada, Personal and Corporate Income Tax Expenditures (Ottawa: Department of Finance, 1993). See also Brooks, N., Paying for Civilized Society: The Need for Fair and Responsible Tax Reform (Ottawa: Centre for Policy Alternatives, 1990); Davies, J. B., “Distributional Effects of the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption: Single vs. Multi-Year Analysis” (1995) Canadian Public Policy (XXI Supplement) S159 ; Lahey, K., “The Small Business Credit: A Tax Expenditure Analysis” (1979) 1 Canadian Taxation 29.

10. See Lindquist, E. A., “Improving the Scrutiny of Tax Expenditures in Ontario: Comparative Perspectives and Recommendations” in Maslove, A. M., ed., Taxing and Spending: Issues of Process (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994) 32 ; Bruce, N., ed., Tax Expenditures and Government Policy (Kingston, Ont.: John Deutch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy, 1988).

11. See N. Brooks, supra note 7; Royal Commission on Taxation, The Incidence of Taxes and Public Expenditures in the Canadian Economy, Study No. 2 by Gillespie, W. I., (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1966); Gillespie, W. I., The Redistribution of Income in Canada (Ottawa: Institute of Canadian Studies, Carleton University, 1980).

12. See Maloney, M., “Distributive Justice: That is the Wealth Tax Issue” (1988) Ottawa Law Review 601 ; Philipps, L., Taxing Inherited Wealth: Ideologies About Property and the Family in Canada (LL.M. Thesis, York University, 1992) at 3870 ; Wealth Tax Working Group Report (Ontario Fair Tax Commission, 1993).

13. Tax statutes traditionally were subject to a strict construction rule in Canada. In recent years, the courts have ostensibly modified this rule to take into account the object and spirit of the legislation: see Stubart Investments Ltd. v. The Queen, [1984] 1 S.C.R. 536. However, in practice, the courts have continued to prefer interpretations that leave ample leeway for tax avoidance: see, for example, Johns-Manville Canada Inc. v. The Queen, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 46; McClurg v. The Queen, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 1020; The Queen v. Irving Oil Limited (1991), 126 N.R. 47 (F.C.A.) [leave to appeal to S.C.C, denied]; Antosko v. The Queen, [1994] 2 S.C.R. 312; Corporation Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours v. Communauté urbaine de Québec and City of Québec, [1994] 3 S.C.R. 3, at 19, where the Court quoted approvingly from its judgment in Johns-Manville Canada (ibid.), as follows: “reasonable uncertainty or factual ambiguity resulting from lack of explicitness in the statute should be resolved in favour of the taxpayer.” On the ability of advantaged groups to influence the bureaucratic administration of the tax system, see Sossin, L., “Redistributing Democracy: An Inquiry into Authority, Discretion and the Possibility of Engagement in the Welfare State” (1994) 26 Ottawa Law Review 1.

14. See, for example, Krever, R., “The Origin of Federal Income Taxation in Canada” (1981) 3 Canadian Taxation 170 , on the struggle to introduce progressive income taxation in the early part of this century.

15. See, for example, Macklin, A., “ Symes v. MNR: Where Sex Meets Class” (1992) C.J.W.L. 498 ; Maloney, M., “Women and the Income Tax Act: Marriage, Motherhood and Divorce” (1989) C.J.W.L. 182 ; Philipps, L., “Tax Policy and The Gendered Distribution of Wealth” in Bakker, I., ed., Rethinking Restructuring: Gender and Change in Canada (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 1996) 141 [hereinafter “Tax Policy”]; Philipps, L. & Young, M., “Sex, Tax and the Charter: A Review of Thibaudeau v. The Queen ” (1995) 2 Review of Constitutional Studies 221 ; Young, C., “(In)visible Inequalities: Women, Tax and Poverty” (1995) 27 Ottawa Law Review 99 ; Young, C., “Taxing Times for Lesbians and Gay Men: Equality at What Cost?” (1994) 17 Dalhousie L.J. 534. See also Women and Taxation Working Group Report (Ontario Fair Tax Commission, 1993).

16. Smart, C., Feminism and the Power of Law (London: Routledge, 1989) at 9 [drawing on Foucault].

17. Thanks to Neil Brooks for this point.

18. See Arnold, B., Timing and the Taxation of Income: The Principles of Income Measurement for Tax Purposes, Canadian Tax Paper No. 71 (Toronto: Canadian Tax Foundation, 1983) C. 1 , on the relationship between accounting and legal principles in the determination of profit for tax purposes. See also Friesen v. Canada, [1995] 3 S.C.R. 103, where the Court referred to accounting principles to assist in determining whether the taxpayer's land qualified as “inventory” for the purposes of s. 10(1) of the ITA. Both the majority and dissenting judges accepted that express language in the ITA overrides accounting principles where the two are in conflict. However, they disagreed on whether there was such an inconsistency in the case at bar (per Major J. at 123, 124; and Iacobucci J. at 170, 171).

19. Supra note 16 at 10.

20. Ibid. at 14–20.

21. Ibid. at 17.

22. See Bordo, S., The Flight to Objectivity: Essays on Cartesianism and Culture (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987).

23. Ibid. at C. 6; see also Bordo, S., Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

24. Code, L., “Taking Subjectivity into Account” in Alcoff, L. & Potter, E., eds., Feminist Epistemotogies (New York: Routledge, 1993) 15 at 21. Like Code, Bordo recognizes that the association of gender with different ways of knowing preceded the Enlightenment and has much earlier roots. However, Bordo argues that the work of Descartes represented a quantum shift towards the total opposition of mind and body, and a more thorough subordination of the female.

25. Supra note 22 at 104.

26. See Burris, B. H., “Technocratic Organization and Gender” (1989) Women's Studies International Forum 447 ; Burris, B. H., Technocracy at Work (Albany: State University of New York, 1993) [hereinafter Technocracy at Work]; Ellul, J., The Technological Society (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965); Ferguson, K., The Feminist Case Against Bureaucrasy (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1984); Fischer, F., Technocracy and the Politics of Expertise (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1990); Foucault, M., “Power/Knowledge” in Gordon, Colin, ed., Power/Knowledg: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–1977/Michel Foucault (New York: Pantheon Books, 1980) esp. at 131 ; Franklin, U., The Real World of Technology (Concord, Ont.: Anansi, 1990); Postman, N., Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992).

27. Ellul, Ibid. at 18.

28. Ibid., c. 1.

29. Lyotard, J. F., The Postmodern Condition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), quoted in Burris, Technocracy at Work, supra note 26 at 48.

30. Postman, supra note 26 at 89–91.

31. For an account of the history and ideologies of technocratic thought, see Burris (1993), supra note 26 at c. 2.

32. For a fuller discussion, see especially Philipps & Young, supra note 15 at 247–50. See also Boyd, S., “Some Postmodernist Challenges to Feminist Analysis of Law, Family and State: Ideology and Discourse in Child Custody Law” (1991) 10 Canadian Journal of Family Law 79 ; Cossman, B., “Family Inside/Out” (1994) 44 University of Toronto Law Journal 1 ; Purvis, T. & Hunt, A., “Discourse, Ideology, Discourse, Ideology, Discourse, Ideology …” (1993) 44 British Journal of Society 473 ; Kline, M., “The Colour of Law: Ideological Representations of First Nations in Legal Discourse” (1994) 3 Social & Legal Studies 451 ; Weedon, C., Feminist Practice & Poststructuralist Theory (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987) at 2732.

33. Foucault, supra note 26 at 132.

34. Ibid. at 131.

35. Ibid.

36. Franklin, U., “From Knowledge to Power: Has Science Policy Swallowed Science?” (Lecture at the University of Victoria, 30 September 1994) [unpublished].

37. Kline, supra note 32 at 452.

38. Ibid. at 453. See also authors cited at note 32.

39. Fischer, supra note 26 at 359.

40. Burris, Technocracy at Work, supra note 26 at 45, drawing on Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish (New York: Vintage, 1977).

41. Postman, supra note 26 at 87ff.

42. Ellul, supra note 26 at 162.

43. Ibid.

44. Doern, G. B., “Fairness, Budget Secrecy, and Pre-Budget Consultations in Ontario, 1985–1992” in Maslove, A. M., ed., Taxing and Spending: Issues of Process (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994) 1 at 13.

45. Hartle, D., “Some Analytical, Political and Normative Lessons from Carter” in Brooks, N., ed., The Quest for Tax Reform (Toronto: Carswell, 1988) 401 at 403.

46. Ibid.

47. Ibid. On the political resistance to the Carter Commission Report and the role of tax professionals in this process, see MacDonald, L. T., Taxing Comprehensive Income: Power and Participation in Canadian Politics, 1962–1972 (Ph.D. dissertation, Carleton University, 1985) [hereinafter Taxing Comprehensive lncome]; L. T. MacDonald, “Why the Carter Commission Had To Be Stopped” in Brooks, ed., supra note 45 at 351.

48. Jansen, S. Curry, “Gender and the Information Society: A Socially Structured Silence” (1989) Communication 196. See also Franklin, supra note 26, at 16, where she notes that “[w]hen certain technologies and tools are predominantly used by men, then maleness becomes part of the definition of those technologies.”

49. Burris, supra note 26.

50. Shaffer, See M., “ R. v. Lavallee: A Review Essay” [1990] 22 Ottawa Law Review 607 ; and Smart, supra note 16 at 47.

51. Lacey, N., “Government as Manager, Citizen as Consumer: The Case of the Criminal Justice Act 1991” [1994] 57 Modern Law Review 534 at 534.

52. See Burris, Technocracy at Work, supra note 26 at c. 6.

53. Hacking, I., “How should we do the history of statistics?” in Burchell, G., Gordon, C. & Miller, P., eds., The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991) 181 at 194.

54. See Philipps, “Tax Policy”, supra note 15.

55. See, for example, England, P., “The Separative Self: Androcentric Bias in Neoclassical Assumptions” in Ferber, M. A. & Nelson, J. A., eds., Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993) 37 ; Folbre, N. & Hartmann, H., “The Rhetoric of Self-interest: Ideology and Gender in Economic Theory” in Klamer, A., McCloskey, D. & Solow, R., eds., The Consequences of Economic Rhetoric (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) 184.

56. Harding, S., Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991) at vii.

57. Ibid. See also Harding, S., “Rethinking Standpoint Epistemology: What is ‘Strong Objectivity’?” in Alcoff, L. & Potter, E., eds., Feminist Epistemology (New York: Routledge, 1993) 49.

58. Longino, H., Science as Social Knowledge: Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).

59. For a sampling of different perspectives, see B. Baron, “Marginality and Epistemic Privilege” in Alcoff & Potter, eds., supra note 57 at 83; Campbell, R., “The Virtues of Feminist Empiricism” (1994) Hypatia 90 ; Crasnow, S., “Can Science Be Objective? Longino's Science as Social Knowledge ” (1993) Hypatia 194 ; Tuana, N., “The Radical Future of Feminist Empiricism” (1992) Hypatia 100.

60. See Denis, C., “‘Government Can Do Whatever It Wants’: Moral Regulation in Ralph Klein's Alberta” (1995) 32 C.R.S.A. 365.

61. Incidentally, the answers are: 1(b), 7(c), 8(c), 9(d), 11(d).

62. Postman, supra note 26.

63. “Abella's lament” The [Toronto] Globe and Mail (24 May 1995). In a similar vein, the same newspaper commented more recently that Mike Harris, the Conservative Premier of Ontario, “is not cutting out of spite. He is cutting because, unlike his predecessor [NDP Premier Bob Rae], he can count”: “Is Mike Harris Really Heartless?” The [Toronto] Globe and Mail (8 September 1995) A20.

64. Budget Speech (Ottawa: Department of Finance, Canada, 1995) at 2. More recently Martin showed that he understands the politics of speaking mathematically. In rejecting opposition calls for even more severe budgetary restraint he stated that “…draconian budgets are not difficult to write. The arithmetic is painless. But the human consequences are not.” Budget Speech (Department of Finance, Canada, 1996) at 8.

65. Brodie, J., Politics on the Margins: Restructuring and the Canadian Women's Movement (Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 1995) at 50.

66. Budget Speech (Ottawa: Department of Finance, Canada, 1995) at 4.

67. Budget Speech (Ottawa: Department of Finance, Canada, 1996) at 7. The budget documents indicate that expenditure cuts account for 87% of the total combined fiscal actions in the Liberal government's three budgets: Budget Plan (Department of Finance, Canada, 1996) at 11. As a result of measures announced in these budgets, total program spending will fall by $14.5 billion (12.1%) over the five-year period from 1993–1994 to 1998–1999. By the final year, the government estimates that program spending will be at its lowest, relative to GDP, since 1949–1950, and will be about 60% of what it was during the mid-1970s and mid-1980s (ibid. at 11–12).

68. See Wolfe, D. A., “The Politics of the Deficit” in Doem, G. B., The Politics of Economic Policy (studies for the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada, vol. 40) (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985) 111. See also works cited, supra note 9.

69. See the controversial Statistics Canada study, “The Growth of the Federal Debt” (June 1991) 4:6 Canadian Economic Observer 3.1 , which concluded that only a miniscule portion of the debt (less than 2%) can be attributed to social welfare programs. Statistics Canada subsequently published a brief note which qualified certain aspects of this study, and expressed regret for having “added to controversy”: “Note regarding the article ‘The Growth of the Federal Debt’” (1991) 3 Canadian Economic Observer. 17. Linda McQuaig has asserted in her gripping journalistic account of the deficit issue that this note was published after Statistics Canada was subject to political pressure, particularly by the Department of Finance: McQuaig, L., Shooting the Hippo: Death by Deficit and Other Canadian Myths (Toronto: Viking, 1995) at 5363.

70. Of the $25.6 billion in expenditure cuts made by the 1994, 1995 and 1996 federal budgets, reductions in cash transfers to the provinces for health care services, post-secondary education, social assistance and social services accounted for $7 billion, or roughly 27%; Budget Plan (Ottawa: Department of Finance, Canada, 1996) at 110. This figure does not include cuts to direct social spending by federal government departments. In Ontario, the Conservative government of Mike Harris reduced social assistance rates by over 21%, to pay for approximately 20% of the government's total fiscal austerity program. See Masse v. Ontario (Ministry of Community and Social Services) Ontario Court of Justice (GD), 8 February 1996 590/95 at para. 367.

71. See Doern, G. B., Maslove, A. M. & Prince, M. J., Public Budgeting in Canada: Politics, Economics and Management (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1988) [reprinted 1991] at 20; Dungan, P. & Wilson, T., “Altering the Fiscal-Monetary Policy Mix: Credible Policies to Reduce the Federal Deficit” (1985) Canadian Tax Journal 309 ; Fortin, P., The Rising Federal Debt: Why, How Bad, What Should We Do? (Sainte-Foy: Université Laval, Groupe de Recherche en Politique Économique, May 1985); Fortin, P., “Let's Turn the Macroeconomic Policy Mix Upside Down” (1993) 14:6 Policy Options 15 ; Gonick, C., The Great Economic Debate (Toronto: James Lorimer, 1987) at 148–53; Kneebone, R. D., “Deficits and Debt in Canada: Some Lessons from Recent History” (1994) 22 Canadian Public Policy 152 ; McQuaig, supra note 69; Rosenbluth, G., “The Political Economy of Deficit-Phobia” in Allen, R. C. & Rosenbluth, G., eds., False Promises: The Failure of Conservative Economics (Vancouver: New Star, 1992) 61 ; Wolfe, supra note 68. See also Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Choices, Alternative Federal Budget 1996 Framework Document (Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 1996).

72. See L. Osberg, “Sustainable Social Development” in Allen & Rosenbluth, eds., ibid. 227. See also “The Remaking of New Zealand” Ideas (transcript 12–19 October 1994, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).

73. United States General Accounting Office, Deficit Reduction: Experiences of Other Nations (GAO/AIMD-95–30) (December 1994) at 54.

74. Lacey, supra note 51 at 553–54.

75. Canadian Tax Foundation, Submission to the Ontario Select Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs (7 February 1995).

76. For an analysis of the Canadian Tax Foundation's connections to corporate interests and its role in opposing progressive tax reforms in the 1960s and 1970s, see MacDonald, Taxing Comprehensive Income, supra note 47.

77. Anderson, W., Wallace, M. S. & Warner, J. T., “Government Spending and Taxation: What Causes What?” (1985/1986) 52 Southern Economic Journal 630 at 631.

78. Ibid‥

79. Ahiakpor, J. C. W. & Amirkhalkhali, S., “On the Difficulty of Eliminating Deficits with Higher Taxes: Some Canadian Evidence” (1989) 56 Southern Economic Journal 24.

80. Ibid. at 25–26.

81. Ibid.

82. Ibid. at 27–30.

83. Ibid. at 31.

84. Ibid. at 26.

85. Gonick, supra note 71 at 19.

86. Ahiakpor & Amirkhalkhali, supra note 79 at 26, 27.

87. See supra note 69.

88. See Low Income Tax Relief Working Group Report (Ontario Fair Tax Commission, December 1992).

89. Brooks, supra note 7.

90. Anderson, Wallace & Warner, supra note 77 at 630. For a view that lies somewhere in between, see Ram, R., “Additional Evidence on Causality between Government Revenue and Government Expenditure” (1987/1988) 54 Southern Economic Journal 763. See also Cullis, J. & Jones, P., Public Finance and Public Choice (London: McGraw-Hill International, 1992) at 376–93.

91. McCallum, J. S., “Debt Policy and Debt History” (1994) 15:5 Policy Options 37.

92. Bank of Novia Scotia chief economist Jestin, Warren, quoted in The Financial Post (3 June 1994) 1.

93. “Martin Takes Aim at $600-Billion” The [Toronto] Globe and Mail (16 September 1994) A20.

94. “60 Minutes” (13 May 1994).

95. Frum, D., “In the HoleSaturday Night (February 1995) 42.

96. Financial Post (16 September 1991) 1.

97. Davidson, J. D., The Plague of the Black Debt: How To Survive the Coming Depression (Baltimore: Strategic Investment, 1994).

98. “A Well-Crafted Package Can Do More than Lance the Debt Boil” (excerpt from Howe, C. D. Institute) The [Toronto] Globe and Mail (12 October 1994) A1.

99. Budget Speech (Ottawa: Department of Finance, Canada, 1995) at 6.

100. McCloskey, D., If You're So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990) at c. 1. See also Postman, supra note 26 at c. 9.

101. McCloskey, ibid. at 56.

102. Ibid. at c. 4.

103. See, for example, Martin, E., The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction (Boston: Beacon Press, 1987); “Language and Science: Genetics, Embryology, and the Discourse of Gene Action” in Keller, E. Fox, ed., Refiguring Life: Metaphors of Twentieth-Century Biology (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995).

104. Bordo, supra note 22. Lacey, supra note 51 at 553, also notes the masculine overtones of metaphors surrounding the efficient, managerialist state, especially the emphasis on better “performance” by government agencies.

105. Cohen, M., “The Canadian Women's Movement and its Efforts to Influence the Canadian Economy” in Backhouse, C. & Flaherty, D., eds., Challenging Times: The Women's Movement in Canada and the United States (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1992) 215 at 218–19, quoted in Brodie, supra note 65 at 47.

106. MacDonald, M., “Restructuring in the Fishing Industry in Atlantic Canada” in Bakker, I., ed., The Strategic Silence: Gender and Economic Policy (London: Zed Books in association with North-South Institute, 1994) 91 at 100.

107. See supra note 70 and accompanying text.

108. Ibid.

109. Factum of the Applicants, paras. 65–109.

110. Jackman, M., “Women and the Canada Health and Social Transfer: Ensuring Gender Equality in Federal Welfare Reform” (1996) 8 C.J.W.L. 372.

111. Ibid. at 10.

112. Brodie, supra note 65 at 19–20.

113. For an overview of the gendered implications of economic restructuring policies, see I. Bakker, “Engendering Macro-Economic Policy Reform in the Era of Global Restructuring and Adjustment” in I. Bakker, ed., supra note 106, 1; M. Griffin Cohen, “The Implications of Economic Restructuring for Women: The Canadian Situation”, ibid. 103.

114. The Women and Taxation Working Group, supra note 12, executive summary at 1, made this point as follows: “[W]omen's primary responsibility for the young, the sick and the frail elderly is a critical factor in contributing to women's inequality and in determining the impact of the tax system on women as compared to men. As a result … the working group focused on the interaction of the tax system with this unpaid work.”

115. Curry Jansen, supra note 48 at 198.

116. Symes v. The Queen (1989), 89 D.T.C. 5244 (F.C.T.D.).

117. Queen v. Symes (1991) 91 D.T.C. 5397 (F.C.A.).

118. Symes, supra note 3.

119. (1994) 114 D.L.R. (4th) 261. The so-called deduction/inclusion system is set out in s. 56(l)(b) and s. 60(b) of the ITA. The federal government announced the proposed repeal of these provisions as of 1 May 1997 in its 1996 budget.

120. In a highly problematic passage of his judgment, ibid. at 271, Hugessen J.A. concluded that the different treatment of payers and recipients of child maintenance is not linked to sex because some men, though relatively small in number, are also subject to the inclusion requirement. The fact that women make up 98% of this group was not, in his view, sufficient by itself to establish an adverse effect on women as a class. For a detailed analysis of the judgment see Philipps & Young, supra note 15.

121. Thibaudeau, supra note 4.

122. See, for example, Macklin, supra note 15; Philipps, L., “ Thibaudeau v. Canada: Tax Law: Equality Rights” (1995) 4 Can. Bar Rev. 668 ; Philipps & Young, supra note 15; Young, C., “Child Care and the Charter: Privileging the Privileged” (1994) 2 Review of Constitutional Studies 20 ; Zweibel, E., “ Thibaudeau v. R.: Constitutional Challenge to the Taxation of Child Support Payments” (1994) 4 N.J.C.L. 305.

123. Herman, D., Rights of Passage: Struggles for Lesbian and Gay Legal Equality (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994) at c. 7.

124. Ibid. at 140.

125. See Cohen, M., “The Problem of Studying Economic Man” in Miles, A. & Finn, G., eds., Feminism in Canada: From Pressure to Politics (Montreal: Black Rose, 1982); see especially Nelson, J. A., Feminism, Objectivity & Economics (London: Routledge, 1996) at c. 5 (“Towards a Feminist Theory of the Family”).

126. See, for example, Gavigan, S. A. M., “Paradise Lost, Paradox Revisited: The Implications of Familial Ideology for Feminist, Lesbian and Gay Engagement to Law” (1993) 31 Osgoode Hall L.J. 589.

127. Thibaudeau, supra note 4 at 702, per lacobucci and Cory JJ.

128. Ibid. at 698.

129. Ibid. at 675.

130. Ibid. at 676.

131. Supra note 119 at 289.

132. Supra note 116 at 5249.

133. Macklin, A., “Foreign Domestic Worker: Surrogate Housewife or Mail Order Servant?” (1992) 37 McGill L.J. 681. See also Macklin, supra note 15.

134. I thank Nancy Staudt for helping me clarify this point.

135. Weedon, supra note 32 at 10.

* I wish to acknowledge the helpful feedback I received on earlier versions of this paper from Neil Brooks, Judith Grbich, Marlee Kline, Greg Levine, Martha Minow, Nancy Staudt, Kathy Teghtsoonian, Mark de Weerdt, Margot Young, participants in the Critical Tax Theory Workshop held at SUNY-Buffalo School of Law in September 1995, and journal referees.

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