Are we so rich that we can give up with our eyes closed while neglecting to collect what is owed to us?
Yet this has been the attitude of the federal government since the start of the pandemic. Thanks to its multiple aids, the income of families has jumped by 11%, unprecedented even in full economic growth. Meanwhile, the internet giants are purring. They will not be taxed for months, if not years.
Our world of culture is privileged if we compare it to that of restaurants or hotels, for example. Since March, Ottawa has allocated more than $ 4.5 billion to the culture, arts and heritage sectors. On Monday, in her economic statement, Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Finance, added $ 181.5 million to support the presentation of events and shows.
For his part, the brave Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Heritage, is struggling like hell in holy water to advance his Bill C-10. The chances that the Standing Committee on Heritage will study it before Christmas are slim. This is an essential step before it returns to third reading in the Commons.
Will its royal assent come next spring? Yes, on condition that Parliament is not dissolved for a hasty election. In this case, a new project will have to be presented next fall for adoption at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.
WILL GIANTS BE GOOD PRINCES?
Under Stephen Harper, everyone and his dad demanded that Netflix and the other giants collect sales taxes the way their Canadian counterparts should. What was only a formality for Quebec and Saskatchewan seems a mountain for Ottawa. Madame Freeland’s statement provides that the case will finally be completed on 1er next July.
If something as simple as requiring digital giants to collect the GST takes all this time, when it costs them nothing, how can we believe that they will willingly agree to spend 3% (or more) of their income? made in Canada for the production of Canadian films and series? How can we believe that they will pay royalties to newspapers and magazines for the content they exploit for their benefit? As for their taxation, the 37 member countries of the OECD have been discussing it for three years and have not yet found a solution.
DO AT LEAST WHAT YOU CAN
It is therefore not tomorrow that we will put our hands in the pocket of digital multimillionaires. Until then, why not do what is within our reach?
If our governments – federal, provincial or municipal – were consistent, they would cut the advertising they buy from digital giants by at least half. They would spend the money saved on advertising in Canadian media, saving many from bankruptcy.
A simple directive to the Canada Revenue Agency would ensure that the advertising that a Canadian business buys is no longer considered an expense that it shelters from tax. Like when a Canadian company buys commercials from a TV or radio station in the United States. Nothing would be more logical, the Yale report recommending equating the digital giants with traditional broadcasters.
Alas! logic does not seem to be federal jurisdiction.