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Amazon, Netflix Meetings with Trudeau Liberals Raise Ethical Concerns

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Trudeau

Citing its French-language arm Radio-Canada, a new report by CBC News claims that Amazon, Google and Microsoft have made over 100 registered contacts with influential members of Canada’s Liberal government over the past 12 months, which has raised ethical issues in light of the government’s controversial agreement with Netflix.

Radio-Canada pored over the federal lobby registry and found Amazon had 99 registered communications with decision-makers, while Google had 37, including one with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his two closest collaborators: chief of staff Katie Telford and principal secretary Gerald Butts. Microsoft, Netflix and Facebook also had meetings with federal officials.

Some of the companies showed interest in intellectual property, arts and culture, immigration and broadcasting, according to their lobbying profiles.

MP Pierre Nantel, the NDP’s heritage critic, said in an interview, “We are heading towards a total and brutal deregulation that worries everyone”. He added that the government hasn’t hidden the fact that it would like the American e-commerce giant Amazon to set up its second head office in Canada. Meanwhile, Amazon has said it’s “seeking to influence policy direction related to cloud based services”.

Similarly, representatives of Netflix, which recently pledged $500 million to fund Canadian productions over five years and build a permanent production presence in Canada, had 16 registered communications in eight meetings with Canadian decision-makers. The deal has been strongly criticized in Quebec’s artistic and political circles.

Microsoft representatives have also had access to some of the government’s most influential decision-makers, who are believed to have met the Canadian Prime Minister on two occasions, once alone and once surrounded by Butts, Telford and Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

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  • Business as usual.

  • Timrules

    Trudeau gov’t? Ethical concerns? Well, I never … oh, wait.

  • iverge

    Google Alphabet is building a neighbourhood of the future in Toronto, Netflix is investing 500 million in Canadian content. Don’t know why people are complaining. To me it sounds as if the government is doing its job. And if Amazon HQ2 opens in Canada people will complain about that too! Some people are happy being miserable.

  • sully54

    I agree. This is what a government is supposed to do. This would only benefit communities these companies set up in. To those complaining, please remind me again how local investment is a bad thing?

  • BeaveVillage

    As long as the CRTC doesn’t block more US Netflix content, it’s fine. It’s the digital 21st century, and we share the same continent. Stop blocking content from the United States.

  • It’s Me

    Yup. Netflix managed to convince the bimbo to allow them to continue to avoid paying taxes.

    Oh well, at least they’ll “invest” in producing content in Canada that they were already going to produce in Canada.

  • It’s Me

    Google is investing in a neighbourhood as a test platform for even more intimate data mining. Netflix was going to spend that money anyway; they have to film somewhere and “Hollywood North” is a bargain (which is why so many productions, Netflix or not, visit us). Their “investment” is to spend money they were going to spend here anyway, in exchange for continue tax avoidance. Corporate welfare at its best.

  • Dale Ryan Leckie

    The CRTC doesn’t block US content on Netflix in Canada. Rights holders and the agreements they uphold are responsible for when and where content is distributed.

  • raslucas

    Yes, the idea of Canada being a haven for American businesses weary of the changing climate in the United States is HUGE for Canada. Why would you complain?

    I do think it should be a level playing field. Netflix doesn’t have to collect GST? Ok, then neither should Crave. Right now they gave Canadian Netflix competitors a disadvantage, and that’s not really cool…

  • raslucas

    I think all or no companies should have to collect GST, and then the kickbacks should happen on the other side, when that money is supposed to be paid. That way everything is even.

  • erth

    this is what governments should be doing. instead of getting the people of canada to foot every whim of government, get big business to pay for it and have them reap the benefits. it sounds like the federal liberals are taking a page from the PCs. it is about time JT figures this out. increasing taxs for everyone, all the time, is not the way to increase your gdp.

  • Morgan

    i hate the CRTC.

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