Dalhousie University - Inspiring Minds


Tax and Public Opinion: Can we do better tax talk?

As Canadians have recently seen, tax reform is hard. The economics can be controversial, the law is complex, and the accountancy concepts are strange to many of us. People have strong views on tax questions, for pocketbook reasons or moral or political ones. This mix of factors can make it hard to engage the voting public in a meaningful consultation. There is a risk of much heat and not much light, shouting matches and headscratching.

Hosted by the MacEachen Institute, this panel brings together three of Dalhousie’s experts on tax policy to help us think about how public opinion shapes tax policy, and whether we can do a better job of talking constructively about tax.

Our three presenters each bring special expertise to these questions. Graham Steele ran a public consultation on Nova Scotia’s finances when he was the Provincial Finance minister and brings to this event the insights he developed during that process and since. He is the author of
the recently released book The Effective Citizen: How to Make Politicians Work for You.
Shirley Tillotson brings an historical perspective, based on her study of 55 years of tax politics and public opinion in Canada. Her recent book Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer and the Rise of Canadian Democracy was released in November 2017. Kim Brooks currently serves as an expert
advisor to the Canada Revenue Agency on international tax, and will share with us her knowledge of the international publics (experts, interested parties) who influence international organizations and, as a result, Canada's own tax policy.

And we want to hear your thoughts. Do you talk about tax with friends and family? How does that go? Have you changed your thinking over the
years? Why or why not?


Lectures, Seminars




Rowe Building, Room 1014