Find us on Google+

Tax Is Not a Four-Letter Word

A Different Take on Taxes in Canada

Alex Himelfarb and Jordan Himelfarb, editors

Canadian Commentaries Series

Paper 304 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-832-9

Release Date: November 2013

Online discount: 25%

$29.99  $22.49


eBook availability

Taxes connect us to one another, to the common good, and to the future. This is a book about taxes: who pays what and who gets what. More than that, it’s about the role of government, about citizenship and our collective well-being, about the Canada we want. The contributors, leading Canadian practitioners and scholars, explore how taxes have become a political “no-go zone” and how changes in taxation are changing Canada. They challenge the view that any tax is a bad tax and provide broad directions for fairer and smarter approaches.

This is a book that will be of interest to anyone concerned with public policy and public affairs, economics, and political science and to anyone interested in challenging the conventional wisdom that lower taxes and smaller government are the cures to what ails us.

Alex Himelfarb is the director of the Glendon School of Public and International Aff airs and the Centre for Global Challenges at York University. A federal public servant for twenty-eight years before his retirement in 2009, he served as Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to Cabinet for three prime ministers, as Canada’s Ambassador to Italy, as Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage, and in senior positions in numerous ministries and agencies.

Jordan Himelfarb is an opinion editor at The Toronto Star. Previously he was the editor of The Mark and the Arts and Ideas editor of This Magazine. His writing has appeared in many of Canada’s foremost newspapers and magazines. He is also co-editor of the music website Said the Gramophone, one of Time Magazine’s top blogs of 2009.


“How much are we willing to pay to live in a good and prosperous country? Do we have a tax system that is fair and efficient? What public goods and services do we want our governments to provide? If democracies exist only by the virtue of the engagement of citizens, then we need to have the courage to have a new conversation about taxation. Read this book. Get informed by experts on the politics, economics, and social dimensions of taxation. Tell your friends to read it. Then have a conversation with your member of parliament. The future of Canada will be better for it.”

— Kevin Page, Canada’s first parliamentary budget officer; Jean-Luc Pepin Research Chair, University of Ottawa

“What happened to the Canada that could solve national problems, support people in hard times, and improve life for each successive generation? This book provides the answer: twenty years of cumulative tax cuts have undermined the can-do Canada our parents and grandparents built. Better still it points the way out of this cul-de-sac, beginning with an honest conversation about how we pay for the nation we want to be. It can’t start soon enough.”

— Carol Goar, The Toronto Star