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Internet bills should itemize Justin Trudeau’s new streaming tax

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5 minute read

From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Jay Goldberg

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 in this paper 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.

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National

Trudeau must prove he won’t tax our homes

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano 

Actions speak louder the words. That’s especially true when those words come from a politician with a track record of breaking promises and hiking taxes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he won’t send the taxman after Canadians’ homes. But if Trudeau wants Canadians to believe he won’t impose a home equity tax, there’s one thing he must do: end the CRA’s home reporting requirement.

In 2016, the Trudeau government made it mandatory for Canadians to report the sale of their primary residence even though it’s tax-exempt. If you sell your home, the CRA wants to know how much money you received from that sale. But if the taxman isn’t taxing it, why is the taxman asking that question? Is the CRA just curious?

Official Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre confirmed to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation he would remove this reporting requirement if he forms government.

Trudeau must do the same. Otherwise, Canadians should worry a home equity tax is right around the corner. As Toronto Sun Columnist Brian Lilley recently wrote, “For Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party, taxing your primary residence is a bad idea they just can’t quit.”

On June 25, Trudeau attended “a private town hall about generational fairness,” hosted by Generation Squeeze, a group advocating for home taxes.

What do you notice about the theme of that town hall? The government recently used the cloak of generational fairness to impose its capital gains tax hike.

The Trudeau government also spent hundreds of thousands funding and promoting a report from Generation Squeeze that complained of the “housing wealth windfalls gained by many home owners while they sleep and watch TV.”

The report recommended charging a tax on the value of homes above $1 million. The tax would cost Canadians up to $5.8 billion every year, and it would hit many normal Canadians. In British Columbia and Toronto, the typical home price is above $1 million.

Trying to improve affordability with tax hikes is like trying to boil water with your freezer. Higher taxes won’t make homes affordable. Consider this insight 50 pages into the report.

“Owners of homes valued over $1 million that include informal rental suites may try to recover the surtax by passing some of its cost on to renters,” reads the report.

It turns out higher taxes can make things cost more.

The head of Generation Squeeze was invited to a cabinet ministers’ retreat in Charlottetown last summer.

Documents uncovered by the CTF show staff in the prime minister’s office met twice with the head of Generation Squeeze, which included “a briefing about the tax policy recommendation.”

Trudeau has an appetite for taxing people’s homes. His recent capital gains tax hike will impact Canadians who sell secondary residences and cottages. He imposed a so-called anti-flipping home tax. And Trudeau taxes homes the government deems “underused.”

With Trudeau scrounging through the couch cushions looking for more money to paper over his deficits, Canadians should worry a home equity tax is next.

A home equity tax would come with a big bill for a young couple looking to upgrade to a family home or for grandparents who rely on the equity in their home to fund their golden years.

As an example, Canadians that bought their Toronto home for $250,000 in 1980 and sold it for $1.2 million today would pay between $50,000 and $190,000, depending on the type of home equity tax.

The Trudeau government has repeatedly flirted with home equity taxes. The only way for Trudeau to put Canadians’ minds at ease is to act and remove the requirement for taxpayers to report the sale of their home to the CRA.

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International

‘Really, Really Difficult’: Bureaucrats Worry Behind Closed Doors They’ll Be Sent Packing Under Trump

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From Heartland Daily News

“He’s going to get people in place that are more intelligent and are more loyal to him,” a park service employee said. “Now I think he could do a lot of damage.”

Government workers are reportedly in a state of panic over the prospect of former President Donald Trump winning another term in office, according to E&E News.

Bureaucrats up and down the federal hierarchy are concerned that a second Trump administration could cost them their jobs and put an end to liberal programs they worked to implement under President Joe Biden, E&E News  reported.  Trump has, if elected, pledged to implement reforms that would allow him to fire up to 50,000 civil servants at will, with the former president singling out workers who are incompetent, unnecessary or undermine his democratic mandate.

“The first rendition of the Trump administration was really, really difficult, and we saw a mass exodus of employees retiring,” a National Park Service employee told E&E News. “If we do have an administration shift, other employees will also reconsider their positions and move to the private sector. I don’t know what I’ll end up doing.”

Of the civil servants that didn’t exit during Trump’s first term, many worked internally to deliberately obstruct his agenda, according to Miles Taylor, who served as chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to 2019 and admitted to engaging in such behavior. Bureaucrats are worried that Trump may seek to appoint administrators who agree with his agenda this time around.

“He’s going to get people in place that are more intelligent and are more loyal to him,” a park service employee said. “Now I think he could do a lot of damage.”

To replace large numbers of federal employees, Trump would reclassify them as Schedule F employees, allowing him to fire them at will. The Biden administration finalized a rule in April that would prevent their status from being changed involuntarily, however, allies of the former president have shrugged off the rule by pointing out that a Trump administration could simply reverse it, according to The New York Times.

Amid fear that Trump’s plans may come to fruition, bureaucrats are making moves to ensure the Biden administration’s policies are as hard to repeal as possible, a senior employee at the Interior Department told E&E News.

“The concern hasn’t been focused on who the Democratic nominee is as much as concerns about Trump winning and what that would mean,” they said. “From everyone’s perspective it is get as much done as possible. Also trying to bury into the agency programs [like environmental justice] so they can survive a Trump administration.”

Conservatives are increasingly optimistic about Trump’s chances of defeating Biden in November as the president lags behind Trump in the polls and the Democratic Party grapples with internal disputes regarding whether or not he should be their nominee.

“The mood is somber and incredulous,” one long-time employee of the Department of the Interior told E&E News. “The hope is we will not suffer through another term with the prior leadership, but the fear [is] that if we do, they will target employees they don’t like, make things up to justify whatever punishment they want and just cripple the good work we are doing.”

Staff at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meanwhile, are also upset and agitated, the president of a union representing some of the agency’s employees told E&E News. “So many of our members lived through the absolutely disastrous first Trump administration and his attempted dismantling of EPA,” she said.

Originally published by The Daily Caller. Republished with permission.

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