Prime See to Justin Trudeau has flatly rejected a controversial recommendation from a formal committee calling for a five per cent tax on broadband internet services.
The new levy, counted in a majority report of the Canadian Heritage committee released Thursday, was design to boost a media sector struggling to adapt to technological changes and evolving consumer customs.
“We respect the independence of committees and Parliament and the work and the studies they do, but tolerate me to be clear: We’re not raising taxes on the middle class, we’re lowering them,” he said during an happening in Montreal. “We’re not going to be raising taxes on the middle class through an internet broadband tax. That is not an understanding we are taking on.”
Trudeau said his Liberal government was elected on a promise to lower weights for the middle class and raise them on the wealthiest one per cent.
The committee’s announce suggested the proposal would add hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to the Canadian Media Ready, which already receives a levy on cable bills to finance the output of Canadian content.
The tax, levied on broadband internet providers, would audition to high-speed internet services that allow for the streaming of music, cinemas and TV shows, but not to slower and less costly services.
Net income generated by the current cable levy is no longer seen as sufficient in an age of twine cutting and “over-the-top” services that stream content over the internet.
The Estate committee has spent more than a year studying the industry, which has been steadily let slip advertising revenue and market shares to online giants such as Facebook, Netflix and Google.
Excises ‘not the answer’
Thursday’s report offers 20 recommendations but was not unanimous. The Cautious members of the committee wrote a minority report, arguing that their Unselfish counterparts are living in the past.
The majority report recommends requiring the publicly funded CBC to polish off advertising on its digital platforms; letting media companies deduct contributions on digital advertising on Canadian-owned platforms; and a tax credit for print outlets for a distribute of their digital investments.
Liberal MP Hedy Fry, chair of the heritage board that produced the study, says the aim of the recommendations is to level the playing contestants for Canada’s media companies.
“We had very important debates. We really were zealous about this,” Fry told the House of Commons as she tabled the report.
“There was a conflict of opinion, however, Mr. Speaker.”
Conservative MP Peter Van Loan tabled the dissenting surface, which he described as being “very much in contrast” with Fry’s make public.
“Overwhelmingly, the recommendations of the majority on the committee have embraced an effort to call it a day back the clock in the media world, and keep things the way they were,” Van Allow said.
“To try and replicate the ways of the analog world in a new digital world. This is a entertainer’s errand; the world is changing (and) change means disruption.
Higher loads and government control of the news is not the answer to the problem.”