By ANDY BLATCHFORD The Canadian Press
“We’re not going to be raising taxes on the middle class through an Internet broadband tax,” Justin Trudeau said Thursday. “That is not an idea we are taking on.”
OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is shooting down a parliamentary committee’s recommendation that Ottawa impose a 5 per cent tax on broadband Internet services as a way to “level the playing field” in Canada’s rapidly evolving news industry.
Liberal members of the Commons heritage committee released a long-awaited report Thursday with 20 recommendations aimed at helping the slumping media industry adapt to rapid technological change and shifting consumer habits.
The majority report calls on Ottawa to apply the tax, levied on broadband Internet providers, to high-speed Internet services that allow for the streaming of music, movies and TV shows.
Liberal members of the committee tried to sell the move as one that would create more fairness because the tax is already applied to satellite and cable TV services.
But shortly after the report’s release, Trudeau categorically rejected the idea.
“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,” Trudeau said 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.”
The committee spent 15 months studying the ailing Canadian media industry, which has been steadily losing advertising revenue and market shares to online giants such as Facebook, Netflix and Google.