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Prime Minister Trudeau Rejects 5% ‘Netflix’ Tax on Broadband Internet Services

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The Canadian Heritage committee suggested a new 5% tax on broadband internet services such as Netflix yesterday, intended to help boost the struggling media sector. However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Heritage Minister Melanie Joly dismissed the idea today.

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Speaking at an event in Montreal, Trudeau said “We respect the independence of committees and Parliament and the work and the studies they do, but allow me to be clear: We’re not raising taxes on the middle class, we’re lowering them,” adding “We’re not going to be raising taxes on the middle class through an internet broadband tax. That is not an idea we are taking on.”

The suggested proposal would have raised hundreds of millions of dollars towards the Canadian Media Fund—which already receives a levy on cable bills, towards the creation of Canadian content, reports CBC News.

The Heritage committee spent over a year investigating the industry, which has seen ad revenues decline due to online streaming services such as Netflix, plus cord-cutting. They wanted to level the playing field for Canadian media companies.

Conservative MP Peter Van Loan opposed the report, saying “Overwhelmingly, the recommendations of the majority on the committee have embraced an effort to turn back the clock in the media world, and keep things the way they were,” adding “To try and replicate the ways of the analog world in a new digital world. This is a fool’s errand; the world is changing (and) change means disruption. Higher taxes and government control of the news is not the answer to the problem.”

Check out the video below:

Earlier today the CRTC announced a ban on locked cellphones and unlocking fees for smartphones by wireless carriers.

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  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Good, so why does he tax books?

  • Dehop

    Getting rid of a tax introduced by the Mulroney conservatives is quite different from saying no *new* tax will be introduced. The former requires legislation and the loss of an *existing* revenue stream, the latter does not.

  • Joe

    I’m not sure whether this tax is the best method, but tax revenue to help fund Canadian content is very important, otherwise we may as well just become the 51st state.

    It really makes no sense, because the conservatives are the ones who always talk about preserving our national identity. But I guess sucking up to corporations trumps patriotism?

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Sure it’s different, but the effect is the same – he taxes books just as much as Mulroney did. If he cares about the middle class as he says he does, it’s not enough for him to just not add a new tax. That’s just standing still.

  • FragilityG4

    Want more money? Produce better content. There’s nothing on the CBC, outside of Hockey Night which in a couple years will be completely absorbed by Rogers, that interests me. Too many shows about Anne of Green Gables.

  • Salinger

    This is a tech blog, hence the article and discussion on the proposed taxation of internet. If you want to have a political discourse on general government taxation policy as it relates to retail goods, I’m sure there are plenty of places to do that; this isn’t one of them.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Alright, just switch “books” for “internet access”

  • Salinger

    Okay, then he’s not entertaining the notion of an “internet tax” so good news and well done Trudeau!

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    Why should Canadians have another tax to help fund Canadian content? Why is it important? Let the industry make the contents and make get their money back through advertising. The problem is the industry is making garbage that no one wants to watch so they have to beg for a handout. No more. Enough already.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Lol, he is ALREADY taxing us for internet access – have you never checked your Teksavvy bill? What would be progressive is if he STOPPED taxing the internet.

  • Salinger

    Glad I could brighten your day with a laugh, even though I clearly said “internet tax”. The article we’re discussing is about instituting what is broadly known as an “internet tax”, very different from the general application of of GST on all goods and services (including internet service). Anyway, I’ll stop now as I’m just enabling your desire to turn this blog political.

    P.S. I don’t have a TekSavvy bill

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I understand the article is discussing an ADDITIONAL internet tax. I was pointing out that there was ALREADY an internet tax being charged. GST is NOT applied to ALL goods and services as you state – that’s called begging the question as my whole point is that there does not have to be a tax on the internet.

    Also, since the article has political content, I don’t know why you think I should not be allowed to comment on the content of the article.

    When the article quotes the PM as saying, “allow me to be clear: We’re not raising taxes on the middle class, we’re lowering them” then I think I’m allowed to say that it does not appear that he is lowering the tax, just not adding a new one.

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