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Internet bills should itemize Justin Trudeau’s new streaming tax

Posted on July 1, 2024 by Vauxhall Advance

If streaming services want to fight back against the Trudeau government’s new streaming tax, which will cost them five per cent of their revenue each and every year, they need to be honest with customers and put the tax right on the bill so subscribers see it and understand how much it’s costing them.
The truth is this is a tax. It will cost Canadians money. And everyone knows it, including the prime minister.
Maybe not the prime minister of 2024 but certainly the prime minister of 2018, when, in response to NDP pressure to tax streaming services, Justin Trudeau sensibly refused, saying: “The NDP is claiming that Netflix and other web giants are the ones who will pay these new taxes. The reality is that taxpayers
will be the ones to pay those taxes.”
Well, that was then and this is now. Trudeau’s 2018 logic has been thrown out the window. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced last week it is “requiring online streaming services to contribute five per cent of their revenues to support the Canadian broadcasting system.” That means streaming services like Apple Music, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube and Disney+ will be
hit with a new tax. And, as Trudeau pointed out in 2018, Canadians will be the ones paying the bill.
The government’s own analysis says the new measure will cost Canadians $200 million per year. When businesses are forced to hand over hundreds of millions of dollars to the government, they can’t just eat the cost. As Trudeau himself said, this streaming tax will be passed onto consumers. The industry
agrees. Canadians should be “deeply concerned” with the government’s decision to “impose a discriminatory tax,” said Digital Media Association President and CEO Graham Davies,
adding the move will only worsen the “affordability crisis.”
Translation: prepare for higher prices. The streaming services targeted by these new measures shouldn’t take them lying down. They shouldn’t cooperate with the government’s plan to hide the new tax. Netflix, Spotify, Apple, Disney, YouTube and all the rest need to be honest with their customers about why prices are going up: the Liberals’ streaming tax.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre recently wrote an op-ed telling corporations not to rely on lobbying behind the scenes to influence policy. If businesses want policies to change, they need to convince voters so voters will in turn convince politicians. Canadians have to understand why it’s going to cost them
more to watch movies and listen to music. They are fed up with tax hikes.
But only if they know what’s happening can they make politicians change course. That’s the right way to stop the streaming tax.
In case it’s not already obvious, simply sitting back and waiting for the next election isn’t good enough. “Obviously, my future government will do exactly the opposite of Trudeau on almost every issue,” wrote Poilievre in his NP op-ed.
“But that does not mean that businesses will get their way. In fact, they will get nothing from me unless they convince the people first.”
That’s precisely why these streaming services, from Apple and Google to Spotify and YouTube, need to be honest with their customers about the streaming tax. They should add a separate item on every subscriber’s bill showing exactly how much Trudeau’s streaming tax is costing. They should direct angry
calls to MP offices instead of customer service lines.
When everything feels unaffordable, a night in with a movie or a walk with a favourite album shouldn’t get hit with yet another tax hike.
Jay Goldberg is the Ontario & Interim Atlantic Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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