In the 2015 election, I distinctly remember Stephen Harper claiming that if you elected the Liberals they would try and tax Netflix. The Liberals denied it, the media mocked Harper and life went on.
But I had to look up Harper’s Twitter video from 2015 just to see what he said.
— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) August 5, 2015
There you have it, he warned us.
Headlines from the time literally included “Harper mocked online” and “Harper’s Netflix tax video lampooned online.”
And yet now we have a second Liberal dominated committee calling for a Netflix tax. Last year the Liberal majority on the heritage committee wanted a 5% tax on your high-speed internet and streaming services to pay for Canadian online media.
This year it is the Liberal dominated international trade committee that wants to put the sales tax on foreign owned streaming and other online services. Currently, if you buy an online subscription of any sort from an American outlet, there is no requirement for them to collect and remit GST/HST. And few Canadians bother or even know that they are supposed to pay it.
Now I can see the argument from the Canadian players, they have to collect HST. Lord knows I have to charge it on everything I sell in Canada. That is an argument of fairness.
Still, isn’t this exactly what Justin Trudeau and the Liberals said they wouldn’t do in the last election?
I remember the quote from Cameron Ahmad, who now works as the PM’s deputy director of communications.
Liberal spokesperson Cameron Ahmad called the video a distraction and said that “any suggestion that the Liberal Party supports a Netflix tax is nonsense.”
How long will that last?
I’m all in favour of everyone selling in Canada being treated fairly, so while I won’t like paying the tax when it comes, it will be a level playing field.
My takeaway though is, you can’t trust a Liberal on taxes, ever. As Reagan famously said, Liberals look at business like this, “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
Speaking of subsidies, did you hear the one about the government looking at a $10 million fund for journalism that would create exactly 80 jobs?