Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday June 16, 2017
Netflix tax? Trudeau says no to MPs’ proposed broadband internet levy
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has flatly rejected a controversial recommendation from a parliamentary committee calling for a five per cent tax on broadband internet services.
The new levy, included in a majority report of the Canadian Heritage committee released Thursday, was intended to boost a media sector struggling to adapt to technological changes and evolving consumer habits.
“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,” he said during an event in Montreal. “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.”
Trudeau said his Liberal government was elected on a promise to lower taxes for the middle class and raise them on the wealthiest one per cent.
The committee’s report suggested the proposal would add hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to the Canadian Media Fund, which already receives a levy on cable bills to finance the production of Canadian content.
The tax, levied on broadband internet providers, would apply to high-speed internet services that allow for the streaming of music, movies and TV shows, but not to slower and less costly services.
Revenue generated by the current cable levy is no longer seen as sufficient in an age of cord cutting and “over-the-top” services that stream content over the internet.
The Heritage committee has spent more than a year studying the industry, which has been steadily losing advertising revenue and market shares to online giants such as Facebook, Netflix and Google. (Source: CBC News)