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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Taxing Choices

The Intersection of Class, Gender, Parenthood, and the Law

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Taxing Choices

The Intersection of Class, Gender, Parenthood, and the Law

In the early 1990s, lawyer Beth Symes brought an equality challenge against the Canadian Income Tax Act, arguing that her childcare costs were a business expense. The case ignited public controversy. Was Symes disadvantaged on the basis of gender, or unfairly privileged on the basis of class? This book seeks answers to those questions through close attention to the Symes case, where class and gender interests clashed over the tax treatment of childcare. It looks at the history of legislative and litigative struggles, the dynamics of courtroom discourse, and the influence of broad social debates about children and the public/private divide. It reveals how frequently the rhetoric of choice, responsibility, and selfishness is invoked in response to women’s attempts to place issues of childcare on the public agenda.

256 pages

Law and Society


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: The Intersection of Power and Wound

Part 1: Prelude

1 Theoretical Foundations

2 Childcare Politics in Canada

3 Legal Manoeuvring and the Development of Litigation Strategies

Part 2: "The Play’s the Thing"

4 Strategy and Practice: The Play’s the Thing Part

Part 3: Sorting Out the Aftermath

5 The Limits of Judicial Power: The Court as Constrained

6 Power, Constraint, and the Rhetoric of Choice

7 Multiple Solitudes: Intersectionality in the Nonexpert Public Response

8 Class and Gender on the Terrain of Need: Intersectionality in Expert Public Response

9 Lessons to Be Learned and a Case to Be Remade

Appendices

A Selected Statutory Provisions

B Selections from the Dissent in Symes v. Canada

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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