Media advisory: Who Pays for Canada? Taxes and Fairness


McGill Institute for the Study of Canada’s 2018 Conference turns its focus on tax fairness

Are Canadians fair or is that just a story we tell ourselves? Can we reason our way to lessened inequality or are violent cataclysms the only levelling power, as Thomas Piketty and Walter Schiedel argue? How do we maintain a sense and an approximation of fairness in our globalizing and polarizing world? Certainly there can be no fairness without tax fairness: tax policy is where we negotiate the relationship between wealth and poverty. But how do public ideas of fairness converge or collide with the cacophony of advice emanating from economists, lawyers, journalists, elders, activists, and humanists? These are not technical questions but political and historical ones, and amidst a “new gilded era” they have a new urgency. At the MISC conference for 2018, we bring together an exceptionally diverse group to debate how Canadians formulate core principles of fairness, and how far we actually live up to those norms.

What:            Who Pays for Canada? Taxes and Fairness, a public conference

When:            February 22 and 23, 2018

Where:         McGill University Faculty Club, 3450 McTavish St, Montréal, H3A 0E5

Full program:   

Participants and speakers include:

Tax havens:
Alain Deneault, Directeur de programme au Collège international de philosophie

“Canadian bankers, lawyers and officials didn't only cooperate with tax havens, in the sixties, they created them. A former director of the central bank of Canada, a former minister of Finance, a lawyer near a major political party or the Canadian government itself were instrumental in shaping the laws that would make Jamaica, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands or the Barbados the free zones and tax havens that we know today.”

Tax Exemptions:
Brigitte Alepin, Professor, École des Science de la Gestion, UQAM

“The private charitable foundation tax scheme has to be revised, since in its actual state, it represents a threat to democracy and public finances.” (may be interviewed in French)

Topics and participants include:

Evolution of Canadian Tax Policy

- Jack Mintz, Founding Director, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Taxation and Transparency

- Kevin Page, President and CEO, Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy, University of Ottawa

Indigenous Tax Sovereignty 

- Manny Jules, Chief Commissioner at the First Nations Tax Commission

Taxes on the Chinese in Canada

- Laura Madokoro, Department of History, McGill University

Fairness and Inequality

- Luc Godbout, Directeur, Département de fiscalité, Université de Sherbrooke

- Sébastien Breau, Department of Geography, McGill University

Topics include:

Philosophies of fairness; tax incidence; tax debates and public opinion; tax fairness and inequalities - gender, race, national taxation, tax havens.   




Contact Information

Cynthia Lee
McGill University
cynthia.lee [at]
Office Phone: 
Mobile Phone: