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.
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.